2011 Hartzog Awards
George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service
"When a VIP agrees to share his talents, skills and interests with the National Park Service, he is paying us one of the highest compliments possible by offering a most valued possession - his time."
George B. Hartzog, Jr.
In 1970, the Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP) program started with a few hundred volunteers. Today, more than 220,000 VIPs donate their time, skills, and talents to the National Park Service every year. The George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service recognize the exemplary contributions of these very important people.
The National Park Service is honored to recognize the 2011 recipients:
Individual Volunteer Award
Staff Sergeant Bob Daly
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Pennsylvania, New Jersey
The park calls him an instrumental advocate for encouraging volunteerism with the National Park Service. Wounded Warrior volunteer Bob Daly, a Staff Sergeant in the Pennsylvania National Guard, put in more than 40 hours a week at Delaware Water Gap last year, logging more than 1,800 hours of service.
Daly has been involved in almost every aspect of park support - welcoming visitors and sharing park information, maintaining trails, marking boundaries, assisting in the motor pool, painting, and general maintenance.
Wherever there was a need, say park managers, there was Daly, ready to fill in the gap, with an outstanding attitude and willingness to be involved. His contributions to the park's volunteer program are noted as a model for both the community and other staff members. Daly has participated in volunteer recruitment fairs and was featured in a three-minute television interview encouraging volunteerism. He is a strong advocate for more active involvement amongst wounded warriors in national parks, saying his work with the park was key to his healing process.
Youth Volunteer Award
District of Columbia
People listen to Nathaniel Green when he talks about river ecology and the unique issues facing Anacostia Park because speaks with authority. The 14-year-old is a seasoned volunteer, having worked at the park for four years.
Green spends much of his volunteer time at the park's Skating Pavilion, helping folks get their skates or distributing information. He also shares environmental education program information with his peers. On summer Fridays, he presents lessons about personal responsibility for water health to school groups and summer youth programs.
An integral member of the river ecology program, Green also donates his time to maintenance projects and visitor services. He wears his NPS volunteer t-shirt with pride.
Enduring Service Award
Albert F. "Al" Larmann
North Country National Scenic Trail
New York to North Dakota
A leader in planning and completing the Central New York Chapter's segment of the North Country NST, Larmann's volunteer efforts span a spectrum of involvement locally, regionally, and nationally. Since 1997, he has shared more than 10,000 hours of his invaluable time and skills.
Park friends describe him as a patient negotiator who carries a fiery passion and resolve and who meets difficulties head-on. A six-time participant in "Hike the Hill" week, Larmann is an advocate for the North Country National Scenic Trail before Congress. He initiated his local trail chapter's newsletter, serving as its editor since 1997. He has negotiated numerous agreements with local and state entities for trail routing and development and has managed major trail construction projects.
In his leadership role within the North Country Trail Association, Larmann was instrumental in establishing a joint effort between the association, the park, and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to determine a North Country NST route through approximately 150 miles of Adirondack Park.
Volunteer Group Award
Battery Townsley Docents
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
This group of volunteers, dedicated to preserving World War ll seacoast military fortifications, refused to let a site previously closed to the public fall into ruins.
To restore Battery Townsley, the docents poured in hundreds of hours to remove graffiti and hazardous materials, repaint interior surfaces, restore historic landscaping, and preserve delicate historic insignia and stenciling. They replaced aging gasoline generators with solar panels and removed non-native trees and plants. They also staff the battery, present interpretive programs, and continue to research and document historical information about the site.
The docents have worked with youth groups and interns to boost public interest in this little known resource. They are coordinating efforts with park partners to develop increased educational programming. Because of their efforts, Battery Townsley is now open to the public the first Sunday of every month from noon to 4 p.m.
Youth Volunteer Group Award
Summer Saunters Youth Group
Ice Age National Scenic Trail
The idea is simple: take students into the woods, let them explore, and they will discover the world independently. The creativity lies in the simplicity -- trusting kids natural curiosity. Summer Saunters may sound like a low-key way of lazing away a warm, sunny day, but in reality it is a vibrant and energy-packed youth program that incorporates volunteer service, service learning, and a week of hiking on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
Summer Saunters youth crews - students, teachers, and family members from the school districts of Lodi, Milwaukee, and Wausau - volunteered more than 1,600 hours on the trail. Students gained a week's worth of invaluable exposure to nature, learned about area pioneers, glacial formations, and other environmental factors. Student lesson plans connected these outdoor activities to Wisconsin academic standards.
The "Saunters" program continues to forge new partnerships and support youth throughout the state, who in turn will benefit the Ice Age NST, now and into the future.
Park Volunteer Program Award
Valley Forge National Historical Park
With a volunteer program that has grown every year since 2004, Valley Forge staff focused on smart and strategic growth. The VIP team expanded existing partnerships with other organizations to support the year's 14 percent increase in volunteers. The team also initiated or redesigned programs for a broader reach into the local community.
The park established robust new volunteer programs for young people and diverse audiences, made strategic investments in youth development programs, and expanded existing opportunities. Working with local and regional partners, the park welcomed more than 2,900 volunteers donating 53,000 hours during the year.
The program continues to develop ongoing partnerships with regional companies and organizations, providing leadership and special-equipment training for long-time volunteers, who then can supervise and assist in training others.
After his retirement, George Hartzog and his wife Helen remembered the VIP program with a generous donation to the National Park Foundation. This fund has been used to support awards that honor the efforts of exceptional volunteers, groups, and park VIP programs.