2021 Regional Boating Educators of the Year Announced
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 07, 2021) – The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) is pleased to announce the regional winners of the 2021 Pamela S. Dillon Boating Educator of the Year Award. Generously sponsored by Fresh Air Educators and Kalkomey Enterprises, Inc., the Boating Educator of the Year Award was launched by NASBLA in 2011 to recognize those who go above and beyond to engage students and boaters, raise awareness, and make boating education initiatives relevant, thorough and exciting.
As a member of NASBLA, every state and territory is eligible to nominate their state‐level boating educator of the year to be considered for the regional and national Boating Educator of the Year award. The regional winners are invited to receive their awards at the NASBLA annual conference. The 2021 NASBLA Annual Conference will take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sept. 26 ‐ 29. The awards banquet will take place Tuesday, Sept. 28.
Jerry Desmond, of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (“DEEP”), has been named the 2021 Northern Region Educator of the Year. Prior to joining DEEP, Desmond retired as captain of police after serving 34 years with the Stonington Police Department (SPD). For 17 of these years, he led the SPD Marine Division conducting many marine patrols and was instrumental in training officers in boating law enforcement. Desmond also spent some of this time educating the public on boating safety as a certified volunteer boating education instructor from 1992 – 2014, and as a private provider from 1998 – 2012. Additionally, he was a certified instructor in Rhode Island for five years over this same time period. As the COVID-19 lockdowns begun, Desmond made it possible for the important work and training in Connecticut to continue. In early 2020, Desmond spearheaded the DEEP effort to create a virtual boating education platform so that agencies could continue to offer training. Desmond’s creativity and dedication to boating safety make the waterways of Connecticut a safer place for all recreational users. His efforts to continue to educate the boating community during a worldwide pandemic demonstrates his commitment to DEEP, and the recreational boating community as a whole. Read more about Jerry Desmond’s achievements throughout his career.
Sergeant Johnathan Beardsley, of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), has been named the Southern Region Educator of the Year for 2021. Sergeant Johnathan Beardsley is a 14-year veteran of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. In 2018, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and now oversees the daily operations of three coastal counties and over two-thirds of North Carolina’s coastline. Prior to joining the Commission, Sgt. Beardsley served proudly in the United States Army. Conservation law enforcement and public education were dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sgt. Beardsley met those challenges head on and began using the tools available to him to continue to provide safety and security to the public of North Carolina. He hosted and led the first virtual education classes in the district. This gave the public the opportunity to access instructor-led courses while still adhering to the pandemic parameters. Sgt. Beardsley takes great pride in the fact that he can play a small role in helping the NCWRC accomplish its mission. He is an asset not only to his district and his officers, but also to the agency and the public of North Carolina. Learn more about Sergeant Beardsley’s accomplishments.
Sara Smith, of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), has been named the 2021 Western Region Educator of the Year. Smith assumed the role of boating education coordinator for the state of Montana in 2018. She seamlessly transitioned to her new role as a boating educator and immediately started expanding Montana’s recreational boating safety (RBS) education program with new and innovative ideas. When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all in-person education programs, Smith effortlessly changed stride to continue educating. She amplified social media output on all department platforms, increased radio interviews and created additional videos. One video that she made and posted to the agency website prior to the 4th of July weekend received over 10,000 views. Smith has been instrumental in helping FWP attain recreational boating safety program goals. She volunteered to take the lead in overhauling the Montana boating regulations to make them more user-friendly and cost-effective. The resulting improvement in Montana’s boating regulations will be enjoyed for many years. Smith exemplifies the virtues of public service and is a true RBS professional. Her enthusiasm, energy and innovative ideas have brought recreational boating safety education to new frontiers in Montana. Find out more about Sara Smith’s work as an educator in the Montana boating community.
The 2021 National Pamela S. Dillon Boating Educator of the Year winner will be announced at the NASBLA Awards Banquet scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 28. For more information on the Educator of the Year Award, please visit www.nasbla.org/awards.
Generously sponsored by Fresh Air Educators, and Kalkomey Enterprises, Inc., the Boating Educator of the Year Award was launched by NASBLA in 2011 to recognize those who go above to engage students and boaters, raise awareness, and make boating education initiatives relevant, thorough and exciting.
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) is a national nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. We offer a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards, publications and more. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, we affect the lives of nearly 85 million American boaters.