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Julie Kiefer

Associate Director, Science Communications, University of Utah Health
Phone: 801-587-1293

Aug 25, 2020 4:00 PM

Book Nature's Grace
Daniel Dustin, PhD, has authored more than 14 books including Nature’s Grace: America’s Veterans and the Healing Power of Nature on the healing power of nature for veterans.

Release provided by the American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration 

University of Utah Health professor, Daniel L. Dustin, PhD, will be awarded the prestigious Cornelius Armory Pugsley Medal from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) October 20, 2020.

Dustin serves as professor in the College of Health, Department of Health, Kinesiology and Recreation. He is a philosopher, teacher, mentor, environmentalist, activist, public intellectual, and scholar in the field of parks and recreation. Dustin is the author of over 14 books, dozens of book chapters, and hundreds of presentations and professional articles. Dustin’s writings and presentations have focused on emerging ideas related to conservation, equity, and health and wellness primarily through connections with the outdoors.

Equity, pertaining to social and environmental justice, has been a theme of Dustin’s work throughout his career and is most evident in recent contributions to the profession and society. He has published a book, which was the outgrowth of a conference he organized, on the power of nature for veterans, Nature’s Grace: America’s Veterans and the Healing Power of Nature. Prior to this project, he edited a book and organized a conference that examined social equity issues in the field of leisure. Just Leisure, meaning not merely leisure, but just and fair leisure, was published as an outcome that conference. The book includes chapters about various areas of parks and recreation as they enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Dustin has taught outdoor courses about the wilderness and human values and has provided thought-provoking insights into how careers in the outdoors provide meaningful contributions to society. He has written several editions of his book, The Wilderness Within, which describes how he, and others, can make sense of the value of human interaction with nature.

Health and Wellness has also been a theme of Dustin’s work in recent years. He has written on the topic of how recreation and the outdoors contribute to health, the importance of “greening” health, and has been the editor for special issues of journals addressing healthy parks and healthy communities.

In awarding the Pugsley Medal to Dustin, Ralph Cryder, Pugsley Committee Chair stated, “Dan has focused his life’s work on advancing the cause of parks and public lands through his writing, teaching, and service. As a staunch advocate and dedicated steward, he has elevated the ways people view public lands as they contribute to the general welfare and public good. The Academy is pleased to bestow this recognition onto him.”

The Honorable Cornelius Amory Pugsley Medals are the most prestigious awards that recognize outstanding contributions to the promotion and development of public parks and conservation in the United States. The inaugural Pugsley Medals were awarded in 1928.

Dustin joins a distinguished list of Pugsley Medal winners, including Stephen Mather, the founder and first director of the National Park Service; landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.; two former Secretaries of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt and Stuart Udall; and US Senator and former State of Tennessee Governor, Lamar Alexander.

The Pugsley Medal is provided in association with the National Park Foundation, the official philanthropic partner of the National Park Service. The Foundation’s mission is to enrich America’s over 400 national parks and programs through private support. To learn more visit

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration gratefully acknowledges the supporting sponsorship of The Davey Tree Expert Company. For further information regarding the Davey Tree Expert Company refer to  

To learn more about the American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration’s Pugsley Award, click here.

For further information, contact Jane H. Adams, Executive Director, American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration,  

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About the American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration  The American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration is a group of 125 distinguished practitioners and educators who are leaders in the field of parks and recreation. Established in 1980 the Academy was formed to advance knowledge related to the administration of parks and recreation; to support and encourage scholarly efforts to enhance the practice of parks and recreation administration and to promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good. Additionally, the Academy sponsors a scholarly journal; organizes seminars; and recognizes excellence in park and recreation management in an agency accreditation program and the National Gold Medal Award Program. For more information, visit



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