The George B. Hartzog, Jr Award was presented by Park Superintendent Michael Creasey during a ceremony in spring of 2006.
Volunteers-In-Parks Award Winners
Volunteer Accessibility Achievement Awards &
George B. Hartzog, Jr. Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service
National Park Service (NPS) Deputy Director Steve Martin honored recipients of the Volunteer Accessibility Achievement Award and the George B. Hartzog, Jr. Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service at a Take Pride in America event held May 12, 2006 in Washington, DC.
"The National Park Service is fortunate to have dedicated volunteers and devoted employees who work hard to enhance the visitor experience at our national parks," said Deputy Director Martin. "It is essential that we remain dedicated to strengthening our volunteer program and recognizing the efforts of these amazing individuals and groups."
This year's Volunteer Accessibility Achievement Award is presented to the Americorps Volunteers for their assistance to White Sands National Monument in the construction of the new 900-foot wheelchair-accessible Interdune Boardwalk.
The Interdune Boardwalk, designed by park staff, guides visitors through a vegetated area between sand dunes to an overlook that affords a panoramic view of the world's largest gypsum sand dune field. Interpretive signs along the boardwalk explain the plant and animal life of this Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem. It is constructed of aluminum, which supports the deck and handrails made of the recycled plastic lumber. The structure is not tied to a fixed location, so it can be re-routed to accommodate dune movement.
Dr. Donald Johnson is this year's recipient of the George Hartzog Volunteer award. Dr. Johnson is a metallurgist and has been a long-time volunteer with the NPS' Submerged Resources Center in New Mexico. He has worked closely on significant underwater archeological projects since 1998. His innovative research on determining metal corrosion rates from analysis of concretion is wholly innovative and provides a minimum-impact, cost-effective methodology that will have wide use not only throughout the NPS, but is applicable to historic iron and steel shipwrecks worldwide.
The George Hartzog Volunteer Group award is presented to Lowell Canalwaters Cleaners for the efforts of their more than 150 volunteers who contributed nearly 2,000 hours toward the organization's first goal, which was to clean out the unsightly, unhealthy rafts of trash and refuse that stagnate especially at locks and gates at Lowell National Historical Park. The new non-profit volunteer organization used practical ingenuity in devising their own hand-made tools to complete the task. The clean-ups were partly funded by $2,200 in NPS Park Steward Event grants.
This year's recipient of the George Hartzog Park VIP Program Award is the C&O Canal National Historical Park VIP Program. Volunteers donate their time in a variety of ways from the park's highly successful bike patrol program to visitor center information assistants, living history interpreters, Civil War re-enactors, docents at historic lockhouses, trail maintenance volunteers, receptionists at headquarters, and level walkers who walk the towpath and update park staff on conditions. In 2005, volunteers contributed 46,536 hours, and the number of volunteers increased 14.6 percent from 2,396 to 2,746.
The George B. Hartzog, Jr. Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service were established in 2002 to recognize the commitment of the Service's most outstanding volunteers. During his nine years as Director of the NPS (1964-1972), George Hartzog created the Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP) Program, which was born of the need for more qualified personnel at a time when national parks were becoming increasingly popular. The National Accessibility Achievement Award Program was initiated in the fall of 1998. The purpose of the program is to recognize outstanding accomplishments that result in greater opportunities for visitors with disabilities to enjoy national parks.
The National Park Service, an Interior Department agency, manages the National Park System, which comprises 390 areas covering more than 84 million acres. Through a variety of programs, the NPS (www.nps.gov) cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resources, conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.
Take Pride in America is a national partnership that aims to seek, support and recognize volunteers who work to improve our public parks, forests, grasslands, reservoirs and wildlife refuges, as well as our cultural and historic sites, local playgrounds and other recreation areas. With 100 Charter Partners, Take Pride involves federal, state and local governments, conservation, youth and recreation groups, and top national corporations and organizations. For more information visit: www.TakePride.gov.