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Date: November 26, 2013

State Park Ambassador from Virginia wins national honor

Elizabeth Stapleton of Charlottesville, Va., has been named the 2013 Exceptional Ambassador by America’s State Parks. Stapleton, a youth ambassador at large for Virginia State Parks, received a $500 gift card from STIHL Inc., one of the program’s sponsors.


State Park Ambassadors are youths aged 16 to 28 who are encouraged to visit state parks and share their experiences through social media. They promote awareness of the nation’s state parks and encourage a healthy outdoor lifestyle.  


Ms. Stapleton’s award was part of a larger recruitment campaign for new ambassadors for America’s State Parks Youth Ambassadors programs.  Incentives for participation were given to all 220 State Park Ambassadors nationwide with prizes given to 2013’s top two ambassadors. Lance Gideon from Modoc, Ind., was the 2013 State Park Ambassador of the Year for posting 28 blogs on the ASP website this season.  Ms. Stapleton, 20, a student at the University of Virginia, posted 18 blogs.


The 2013 State Park Ambassador recruitment campaign was supported by grants from the Coca-Cola Foundation and STIHL Inc. through America’s State Parks Foundation.


“I’m proud of the achievements of our State Park Ambassadors,” said Joe Elton, co-founder of America’s State Parks and director of the Virginia State Park system. “These young Americans serve as role models for their peers by inviting others to explore and enjoy the wonders of state parks. I’m particularly happy that one of our Virginia State Park Ambassadors, Elizabeth Stapleton, received high honors this season for her contributions to America’s State Parks.”


America’s State Parks is an alliance of public and private organizations established in 2009 to promote and enhance the nation’s 50 state park systems. The State Park Ambassador program is a youth-led movement started in 2010 that promotes and supports the national system of state parks.


For more information on America’s State Parks and the State Park Ambassadors program, go to




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