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The USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center has won a USGS Shoemaker Award for Communications Product Excellence for a striking display that, after a two-year delay, has finally made its public debut.


Group of people looking at a infographic display inside a large room
The "Denver Urban Wildlife Refuge" graphic product by the USGS EROS Communications and Outreach team, which won a Shoemaker Award, is shown on display at the 2022 Esri User Conference in July. Photograph credit: USGS EROS

The conference booth backdrop, titled “Denver’s Urban Wildlife Refuge,” illustrates the story of one of the largest national wildlife refuges in the country, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, next to the expanding city of Denver, Colorado. The refuge returned to nature after the area had been used for decades for chemical weapons manufacturing and an agricultural chemicals plant. The backdrop captures attention with Landsat imagery and aerial photos showing the area’s change over time and scenic photos as well.

The large display was prepared by USGS EROS’ Communications and Outreach team for the April 2020 American Association of Geographers annual meeting in Colorado, which was canceled at the last minute because of COVID-19. However, the display fit in well with the 2022 Esri User Conference held in July in Denver—great timing, considering the Landsat Program celebrated its 50th anniversary that month.

“The Shoemaker Award for Communications Product Excellence recognizes information products that excel in communicating complex scientific concepts to internal or external nontechnical audiences,” according to the call for nominations.

Two vertical trophies made of glass on top and stone on the bottom third stand side by side
The Communications and Outreach team at USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center won a 2020 Shoemaker Award (Audio/Visual Product) for its Eyes on Earth podcast and a 2021 Shoemaker Award (Graphic Product) for its "Denver Urban Wildlife Refuge" display. Photograph credit: USGS EROS

One award judge offered this comment about the project: “I found the backdrop attractive and interesting, mixing photography and satellite imagery well.”

Receiving trophies for their roles in the backdrop were USGS EROS Chief of Staff and Acting Project Manager for Communications and Outreach Tim Glynn, and KBR contractors Peggy Connot, communications manager; Aaron Neugebauer, lead designer; and Tom Adamson, technical writer.

This 2021 award followed the 2020 Shoemaker Award that USGS EROS Communications and Outreach won for Communications Product Excellence in the Audio/Visual category for the team’s creation and launch of USGS EROS' Eyes on Earth podcast program.

"In the USGS Communications world, this is a big honor, and to have won it two years in a row is pretty special," Glynn said.

Listen to Eyes on Earth podcasts here.

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