County Parks Win a Pair of Statewide Awards

Friday, April 12, 2019

Onondaga County Parks took home top honors at the 2019 New York Recreation & Park Society Awards Ceremony held this week in Lake Placid. The annual ceremony recognizes the achievements and efforts in the field of parks and recreation across New York State. The winners included:

Bill Lansley, Parks Commissioner - Outstanding Service Award for significant contributions to the advancement of the leisure field and active participation in community service. 

In the time Commissioner Lansley has been with the Parks Department he has created multiple beneficial public private partnerships such as the one with Galaxy Communications and the Lights on the Lake Program, and overcome several difficult economic hardships, such as, the budget cuts at Carpenter's Brook Fish Hatchery, where he utilized his extensive background in management to find new ways to save that facility and help it grow and thrive. A cooperative partnership with SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry was just one of the progressive ideas he pushed forward in this particular effort. He has also maintained a strong leadership role in the Friends of Carpenter's Brook Fish Hatchery attending every meeting, assisting in the planning of the groups co-operative event with the Federation of Sportsmen, Honeywell Sportsmen's Days and volunteering at their programs, teaching young children, seniors and those with disabilities how to fish.

Lansley has also become a champion for a variety of environmental and outdoor recreation/education organizations and issues. He serves on the Onondaga County Fisheries Advisory Board, the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, and the board of directors for the Onondaga County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, for which he is currently serving as their president, and the NY State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame. In addition to all of his environmental and conservation endeavors, he serves on the United Way Campaign Team for Onondaga County and has worked with Special Olympics New York, serving on the Games Organizing Committee (GOC) when the games were hosted in CNY.

Beaver Lake Nature Center New Permanent Exhibits - Exceptional Facility Design Award

In 2016 the Friends of Beaver Lake, hired Taylor Studio of Rantoul Illinois, to design, construct, and install the first new exhibits at the Nature Center in nearly 15 years. This project was seen as an additional way to connect our community to the outdoors. The exhibits create a deeper awareness of the complexity of the ecosystem, and or decisions that affect our ecosystems, including the management practices used to preserve the Center's and other local habitats.
The theme of the exhibits centers on the 5 habitats found at the Nature Center (wetlands, lake, forest, fields, and edge) and both the natural and human history of Beaver Lake.  Additionally, there is a life-size beaver lodge to crawl through and an exhibit on how all of us can become good stewards.  The exhibits have seasonal components in order to expand on the outdoor experience and offer a change for year-round visitors. The exhibits and signage complement the real experience of encountering nature.

The Friends of Beaver Lake raised $600,000 for the exhibits with the community support of larger donors and individuals including the Central New York Community Foundation, the Jon Ben Snow Memorial Fund and the Baldwinsville Rotary Club. 

The New York State Recreation & Park Society is the leading professional membership organization dedicated to promoting quality recreation, parks opportunities, and engagement for all citizens of New York State through education and training for local, county, state and federal recreation and park providers. 
For more information about Onondaga County Parks, visit For more information about the New York State Recreation & Park Society, visit


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