Our Stories

2023 Volunteer Awards: Communicator

Categories: Volunteer Stories

Andrew Kovatch

At his day job in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Andrew provides digital advertising solutions for local, regional, and national brands. He combines this skill and knowledge with his enthusiasm for the NCNST and his trail community by dedicating his personal time to the NCTA Marketing Committee. In 2023, he generously (and voluntarily) managed the NCTA’s first significant investment in paid social media advertising, and continues to mentor the NCTA team through the process. He is a stellar example of how an enthusiastic hiker can use professional expertise to greatly improve the hiking community.

Derek Lamparty

Derek and his family have a long history of service with the Superior Hiking Trail Association (SHTA) in Minnesota. Derek’s wife Tracy served on the SHTA Board of Directors from 2005 to 2011, then Derek stepped in between 2011 and 2013. During this tenure, Derek started a Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) Facebook group to promote the Trail, recruit volunteers and supporters, and educate trail users. He has now been the lead administrator for more than a decade, growing the group from just a few hundred people to over 50,000 members. Derek protects a respectful discourse with compassion, diplomacy, and a lot of behind-the-scenes work.

Learn more about how the you can honor NCTA volunteers for their service on and for the North Country National Scenic Trail, and submit a nomination at northcountrytrail.org/volunteer-awards.