News Release 11-050
Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
1111 Israel Road S.W., P.O. Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504-2650, (360) 902-8500
Don Hoch, Director
Sarah Oldfield: (360) 902-8583
Sandy Mealing: (360) 902-8559
Wash. Telecommunications Relay Service:
State Parks honors volunteers who have made a difference
Aug. 25, 2011 –
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has announced the recipients of the 2010 Volunteer Recognition Awards for outstanding volunteer service.
State Parks works with volunteers throughout the state to continue enhancing agency efficiency and to stretch funding. Last year, volunteers performed 313,461 hours of work, equal to 150 full-time employees. The following individuals and groups received recognition for their contributions to the state parks system.
• Don and Karen Kohlenberg (Ragley, La.) received the Lifetime Achievement Award for serving 13 years as camp hosts at Fort Flagler State Park. Each year they trek between Louisiana and Washington state. “Karen Kolenberg excelled in guest services by making each person feel comfortable and important,” said Park Manager Mike Zimmerman. As a museum and gift shop host, she researched everything from the park and fort history to nearby attractions. Most recently she focused her interest on children’s activities. She rekindled a portion of the Junior Ranger Program by creating several activity sheets that engaged youngsters with museum displays. Don Kolenberg built gift displays, merchandising hangers, and created a unique display for “fly-through” window magnets and reusable Plexiglas Junior Ranger Activity boards. He used his handyman experience by doing various repair projects such as replacing windows, repairing fences and picnic tables, and building a garden arbor.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
• Paul and Mary Hofman (Reno, Nev.) received the Volunteer of the Year award for service at Lime Kiln State Park’s lighthouse and interpretive center, beautifying the park and helping with park operations. The Hofmans gave impromptu interpretive talks about whales and educated visitors about park rules. Mary Hofman kept the park looking beautiful. She helped keep the interpretive center and gift shop open and trained other volunteers to share in the duties. She developed a noxious weed eradication program and landscaped the area around the interpretive center. Paul Hofman repaired and serviced park equipment and replaced an engine on one piece of equipment. He also constructed a storage bin for a remote island park and polished brass in the lighthouse.
HOST OF THE YEAR
• John and Darlene Lundstrum (Airway Heights, Wash.) received the Host of the Year award for their service during their second year as park hosts at Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park. In addition to doing general host duties, they helped in the ground breaking of the new amphitheater, delivered sand to the day-use beach, repaired park mowers and developed an equipment usage board. They organized a volunteer cleanup at Camp Delaney Environmental Learning Center (ELC) and developed a safe way to move the heavy grills at the center. At Dry Falls Visitor Center, they developed and constructed garbage receptacle lids that are functional and keep birds and raccoons out. They primed and painted the ELC restroom exterior and helped with the Flood Fest event at Dry Falls, where Darlene Lundstrom dressed as “Eager Beaver” to hand out items to children and visitors.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
• Bill and BJ Sprague (Milton, Wash.) received Rookie of the Year award for service at Fort Flagler State Park. The Spragues stopped in at Fort Flagler to discuss having a rally for their recreational vehicle club and then signed up for two months of hosting. The couple developed a spreadsheet to track occupied sites during the non-reservation season, and Bill Sprague created a display to show campers how to properly fill out the fee envelope. These instructions reduced the number of incorrectly or incomplete registration envelopes. He also constructed a bike trailer for tools. Bill Sprague also designed and constructed recycle stations for the campground. As a result, recycling has increased and the amount of trash has decreased. The Spragues are advocates for Washington State Parks and have encouraged other couples to become hosts.
SIGNIFICANT VOLUNTEER ACHIEVEMENT
• Carla Main (Port Townsend, Wash.) received the Significant Volunteer Achievement award for organizing a 1,200-participant tribal canoe event at Fort Worden State Park. The park is the only nontribal landing spot along the annual Tribal Canoe Journey. More than 100 canoes from coastal tribes in Washington and British Columbia participated as a result of Main’s navigation of the politics of three Native American tribes who claim ancestral rights to the land now known as Fort Worden State Park. Main also facilitated an exclusive beach use activity that involved 40 hand-carved, one-ton cedar canoes and an overnight encampment on one-half of the parade ground designated as a National Historic Landmark, during an already sold-out summer at the park.
SIGNIFICANT VOLUNTEER ACHIEVEMENT -- YOUTH
• Graham Frost (Port Townsend, Wash.) of Scout Troop 1564, completed a scouting project by establishing interpretation for Battery Brannon, one of the mortar batteries at Fort Worden State Park. He directed the removal of 13 truckloads of scotch broom and other vegetation as well as five truckloads of dirt and debris from the battery site. During the removal, he observed salvaged old pieces of metal, which turned out to be pieces of the mortar carriages. The mortar pieces will be on display at the Coast Artillery Museum. Frost is in the process of researching the information concerning the mortar pieces so he can develop an interpretive sign for visitors at that location. “The opening of the battery, the mortar pin, the new signage and the recovery of artifacts will help the museum and the park better display the rich and significant history of Fort Worden State Parks for visitors,” said Fort Worden Park Ranger Karl Fisch.
• Wesley Holden (Yakima, Wash.) received the Scout Award for refurbishing the Pond Loop Trail at Yakima Sportsman State Park. To complete his Eagle Scout requirement, he found the resources, materials, donations and manpower to complete the project. He took pictures, measured the length and width of the trail, determined the amount of gravel needed, identified and marked hazard areas, selected locations and installed interpretive panels. His preparation included making a materials list, making drawings and implementing all phases of the project. Holden enlisted the help of a family friend and local contractor who had trail building experience as a mentor to assist and provide guidance to him and fellow scouts of Troop 141. They graded, crowned, removed tripping hazards and compacted the trail. The park has received many positive comments about the improved trail and its accessibility for people with disabilities.
Dennis and Sandra Haven (Livingston, Texas) were awarded special mention for creating a dedicated In-Room Guest Guide for Fort Worden State Park’s vacation houses. With a generous grant from the Friends of Fort Worden, the Havens outlined the project and performed the production and publishing tasks. They each brought their professional expertise and leadership to the project using desktop publishing to design the layout. Additionally, Dennis took the photographs, while Sandra edited the text. The guide includes information about the broader Port Townsend tourism community and the entire Fort Worden Management Area, including Fort Townsend State Park and the Rothschild House. It also includes information about volunteer opportunities at state parks. The final result is an informative full-color, 48-page guide for Fort Worden State Park guest houses.
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION BY AN INDIVIDUAL
• Neil and Janet O’Connell (Concrete, Wash.) were awarded the Outstanding Contribution Award for service at Rasar State Park. They tended to the park in detail and encouraged visitors to support local and state parks. In a short time with little funding, the O’Connells completed many projects by reusing old and natural materials and bartering with other parks for needed supplies. One of their accomplishments was the removal of old playground bark and replacing it with new bark, then reusing the old bark to manicure other areas of the park. They added ferns and river rock to complete the landscape project. To maintain park facilities, they pressure washed every roof in the park, trimmed overhanging and dangerous limbs from the park roads and campsites, chipped branches for future landscape use, donated a personal collection of tools and materials to Rockport and Rasar state parks, and purchased and donated a new self-propelled snow blower to Rasar.
SAVES THE DAY AWARD
• Robert and Jo Martinez (Lake Havasu City, Ariz.) were awarded the Saves the Day Award for their assistance at Joemma Beach State Park. They maintained restrooms, cleaned campsites, mowed lawns, cleaned roads, and trimmed brush. They provided extra services such as recycling, sign construction, and shop and vehicle cleaning. The Martinezes were excellent at public relations, and the park received many positive comments about their friendliness and knowledge. “The efforts of Robert and Jo Martinez made a substantial impact on the service the park provided to their visitors,” said Park Ranger Kristie Cronin.
• Guy and Martha Parsons (Shelton, Wash.) also received the Saves the Day Award for their service to campers at Twanoh State Park. They created “Welcome Bags” containing park rules, park brochures, shellfish harvesting information, doggie bags and dog treats. “The Welcome Bags were a great hit with campers and they resulted in decreased shellfish harvesting violations,” said Park Ranger Stacy Czebotar. The Parsons were champions of the firewood and ice sales business at Twanoh State Park. Sales totaled more than $900, between January and April, as compared to $15 during the same timeframe in 2007, the first year of the program. The Parsons offered to stay an additional two months because of a host cancellation. They provided much of the intensive winter duties such as clearing the park of leaves and windfall debris. Guy Parsons also helped direct volunteer work parties to prepare the park for the busy camping season.
AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
• Bob and MaryBelle Brown (Nordland, Wash.) received the Award of Excellence for their continued service to Fort Flagler State Park. They began their volunteer service in 1997 when they organized and conducted the fort’s centennial celebration. They brought dozens of community members to assist and join in the celebration. A few months later, the Browns organized those volunteers to form one of the first Washington State Parks friends groups. Bob Brown served on the friends board for nine years, and MaryBelle Brown served as the first president. She has continued to serve in all officer positions and on special committees. Bob Brown uncovered historic gun emplacements buried for years by weeds and trees and created a walking tour known as Fort Flagler’s Historic Gun Battery Tour. He wrote a tour instruction manual and has trained many guides. Bob repaired and rust-proofed metal blast doors, created shell lift displays and rifle target replicas, organized restoration of the military flag pole and refurbished a 120mm mobile anti-aircraft gun that sits in a prominent place at Fort Flagler. Over the past 13 years, the Browns have donated thousands of dollars of their own money and solicited thousands more in donations. They purchased equipment for the park, secured donations for the oversized United States flag displayed on the parade field and have recruited more than a hundred volunteers.
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION BY AN INDIVIDUAL
• Michael “Moh” O’Hanlon (Port Townsend, Wash.) received the award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual for his continued service at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center at Fort Worden State Park, volunteering more than 4,000 hours. He enjoys sharing his knowledge of marine life with visitors to the center. “He has a charismatic ‘Old Man of the Sea’ persona that charms the public and has many stories to share,” said Jean Walat, volunteer coordinator for the Port Townsend Marine Science Center. He developed his own exhibits of marine artifacts and brought them to the Fort Worden pier. He shared his exhibits at local festivals and the farmers market. Walat attributed O’Hanlon with an attitude about learning as a lifelong, eclectic journey that fits in perfectly with Fort Worden’s mission as a lifelong learning center.
GROUP AWARDS 2010
GROUP OF THE YEAR
• Cama Beach Foundation (Stanwood, Wash.) received the Group of the Year award. The Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed by three key individuals, John Custer, Judi McDougal and Hi Bronson, is dedicated to enhancing Cama Beach and Camano Island state parks. The Foundation has helped recruit and manage a corps of volunteers and has raised funds for the park. The Foundation opened a park interpretive store that also includes items campers may have forgotten. The first summer of operation grossed $20,000. The funds are used to develop and augment interpretive programs and tours in cooperation with the parks interpretive specialist and other nonprofit organizations. These nonprofits include the Friends of Camano Island Parks, the Center for Wooden Boats, WSU Beach Watchers, and Stanwood/Camano Schools. “Visitors say their children enjoy the interpretive programs so much that they ask to come back to attend the other programs,” said Park Manager Jeff Wheeler.
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION -- GROUP
• Port Townsend Marine Science Center (Port Townsend, Wash.) received the award for Outstanding Contribution by a Group. The Science Center is a member of the Fort Worden Collaborative which combines public agencies, nonprofit organizations and private enterprise working in partnership to promote conservation, creative learning and community development at Fort Worden State Park. The Marine Science Center has been the major force in providing education about Fort Worden’s marine and coastal habitat for more than 25 years. Since 2005, this group has volunteered nearly 50,000 hours, much of which has been spent staffing the marine aquarium and natural history exhibits, maintaining the exhibits and buildings, operating the gift shop and assisting with classes, beach walks, lectures and other programs. The organization does research projects, answers calls about stranded marine mammals, takes water quality samples and does fundraising and administration. In 2010, volunteers worked diligently on documenting and physically preparing an orca skeleton for display at Fort Worden.
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION -- YOUTH
• Washington Youth Academy (Bremerton, Wash.) received the award for outstanding contribution by a youth group for work performed at Twanoh and Belfair state parks. The Washington Youth Academy (WYA) is a quasi-military program for at-risk youth operated through the National Guard’s “Project Challenge.” “Students who successfully graduate from the academy’s 22-week residential program and 7-month non-residential phase earn high school credits and also a new sense of discipline and purpose in their own, sometimes tumultuous lives,” said Park Ranger Stacy Czebotar. One aspect of the cadet’s experience is performing volunteer service hours at various organizations in the local area. WYA started volunteering for both Twanoh and Belfair state parks in the fall of 2009. Since that time, they have donated nearly 1,500 hours of volunteer service. The group has renovated parking island gardens at Belfair, done trail work at Twanoh, and storm clean-up, debris removal and routine winterization at both parks.
SIGNIFICANT VOLUNTEER ACHIEVEMENT -- GROUP
• Friends of Fort Flagler (Nordland, Wash.) received the award for Significant Volunteer Achievement – Group. The Friends of Fort Flagler officially formed in 1999 from a nucleus of people involved in the centennial celebration at Fort Flagler. The historic military hospital became a focal point. Every Wednesday for two years, a small core group worked diligently at returning the hospital to its former glory. For the Friends 10th anniversary, they held an open house at the hospital to show their progress, which included displays of previous and present conditions. The Friends spent hundreds of hours soliciting donations for this event. The cost of the open house was entirely offset by donated food, cash and donated auction items.
SPECIAL MENTION – GROUP AWARD
• ACCESS Service Team (Port Townsend, Wash.) received the Special Mention-Group award for providing an inclusive and accessible environment at Fort Worden State Park for patrons and participants with disabilities. Lead by Lois Frisch and Trudy Rosenberg, the ACCESS team includes about 20 volunteers trained to provide the following services for patrons or participants with disabilities: watch for and direct vehicles to a designated parking or unloading area; push or lead a wheelchair to the ACCESS entrance; provide appropriate seating; provide and explain Assistive Listening Devices; identify ACCESS restroom facilities; keep a sanitation kit on hand; expedite patron needs during intermission; and remain after each event to facilitate safe and easy egress from the venues. Many hours of preparation go into providing these services. The ACCESS Service Team is a volunteer unit of the Centrum Foundation, which is part of the Fort Worden Collaborative. The Fort Worden Collaborative combines the efforts of public, nonprofit and private enterprises working in partnership to promote conservation, creative learning, and community development at Fort Worden State Park.
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages a diverse system of more than 100 parks and several recreation programs, including trails, boating safety, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The 98-year-old park system will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013.
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