Cooperative Weather Observer Awards Program

coop award banner

From its inception, the National Weather Service has relied heavily on cooperative weather observers for establishment and maintenance of the nation's climatic database. It follows that appointing, training, and keeping good observers is a very high priority. Over the years, a method of selecting and rewarding observers for excellence in observing, recording and reporting weather data has evolved into what is now known as the Cooperative Weather Observer Awards Program.
Thomas Jefferson Award

This award originated in 1959 as a way for the NWS to honor cooperative weather observers for unusual and outstanding achievements in the field of meteorological observations. It is the highest award the NWS presents to volunteer observers. The award is named for Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States. Jefferson, the statesman-scientist, made an almost unbroken series of weather observations from 1776 to 1816. His old instruments may now be seen at Monticello, his home in Charlottesville, VA.

John Campanius Holm Award

The Holm Award was also created in 1959 as a way for the NWS to honor cooperative weather observers for outstanding accomplishments in the field of meteorological observations. It is named for a Lutheran minister, John Campanius Holm, the first known person to have taken systematic weather observations in the American Colonies. Reverend Holm made observations of climate without the use of instruments in 1644 and 1645, near the present site of Wilmington, Delaware. In later years, his son had his records published.

Earl Stewart Award

This award was named for Mr. Earl Stewart, a contemporary cooperative observer at Cottage Grove, Oregon. Mr. Stewart completed 75 years of continuous observations in 1992. The criterion for this award is that an observer serve the NWS as an observer for a period of 75 years or more.

Ruby Stufft Award

In 1991, Mrs. Ruby Stufft, of Elsmere 9ENE, Nebraska, completed 70 years as a cooperative observer, thus becoming the first woman to ever reach that plateau. This award was named in honor of Mrs. Stufft, and is presented to any observer attaining 70 years of service.

Albert J. Meyer Award

This award was named after an historical figure, an observer at Eagle Pass, Texas. In 1870, by a joint resolution of Congress and signed by President U.S. Grant, Albert J. Myer was appointed to establish and direct the "Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce," now known as the National Weather Service. Anyone serving the NWS as an observer for 65 years is eligible for this award.

Helmut E. Landsberg Award

This award was created in 1986 in honor of Dr. Helmut E. Landsberg, noted professor, author and lecturer. He was one of the preeminent climatologists of our time; and was, for a number of years, Director of the NWS Climatology Program, until it was abolished in 1973. This award is presented to all observers who have completed 60 years of service as cooperative observers. That is the only criterion, however, rest assured a 60 year observer has to be some special type of person.

Benjamin Franklin Award

This award was established in honor of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) who invented the lightning rod and was one of the first to describe the movement of large storm systems. As Postmaster General, he received weather reports from a network of observers along the coast which was the first known record of tracking hurricanes. This award is granted to an observer for 55 years of service.

Edward H. Stoll Award

This award was created and became effective in 1975 in honor of a contemporary observer, Mr. Edward H. Stoll, and is given to all observers who complete 50 years of service. Mr. Stoll was the observer at Elwood, Nebraska for over 76 years and was the first to receive the prestigious Stoll Award. To further honor the "Dean of Weather Observers", as he was called, the NWS flew Ed Stoll to Washington, D.C. where he met with the President of the United States, Jimmy Carter. To receive this award, an observer must have taken observations for 50 or more years; and it should be said that an observer who takes observations for that period has to be an excellent observer.

Length of Service Emblems and Letters

As with full time employees, cooperative observers may be given length-of-service emblems every five years, starting at ten years of service to 50 years of service.

Many thanks are extended to these and other citizens who have loyally reported observations to the National Weather Service over the years. They make our job much easier! is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.