Date: April 19, 2016
Contact: Katie Liming, 202-619-7136
Volunteers play a key role in protecting and preserving national parks across the country. From cleaning up trash to repairing canal boats, they not only preserve important places and resources, but also improve visitor experiences. In 2015, 161,607 volunteers contributed 602,582 hours to national parks in the National Capital Region.
The National Capital Region recognizes those who made exceptional contributions to national parks with the 2015 George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteers. National Capital Region recipients will be considered for National Hartzog Awards, which will be announced later this year.
The Hartzog Award was created in honor of George B. Hartzog, who served as the National Park Service (NPS) Director from 1964-1972, and his wife, Helen, who was an avid volunteer in national parks.
Hartzog Volunteer Group Award
Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy, Rock Creek Park
Over the last three years, the Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy (DOPC) has provided 30,000 volunteer work hours to historic Dumbarton Oaks Park within Rock Creek Park. DOPC focused on the restoration of the historic Beech Grove removing 50 mature invasive trees, hundreds of invasive shrubs and more than 600 bags of English Ivy. The group also designed and installed numerous low-cost and low-tech solutions to help nature heal years of stormwater erosion and soil compaction. DOPC partnered with professional service companies to complete tasks that required specific knowledge and skill.
DOPC also repaired hardscape elements within Beech Grove. Volunteers re-mortared the door and window of the Old Stone Pump House and repaired the south stone wing wall of the East Falls dam. The work was made possible with grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Foundation, the Prince Charitable Trust for Historic Preservation, the Cafritz Foundation, the Venable Foundation and individual donors and volunteers.
Hartzog Enduring Service Award
Steve Dean, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
The 2015 Hartzog Enduring Service Award is presented to Steve Dean for his dedicated service to the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park. Steve began serving as a volunteer in 1991 and contributed nearly 1,400 hours of volunteer service to the park in 2015 alone. He served as the chair member of the Level Walker program, assisted with maintenance of the Lock 38 area as a Canal Steward, participated on the C&O Canal Association Volunteers-in-Parks Team and served as a documentarian on the park’s historical culverts.
Steve also spearheaded a two-year effort to reproduce the park handbook. He led the revision of both text and maps, recruited volunteers and park staff to contribute their expertise and added 20 pages to the handbook. Steve worked with the C&O Canal Association, a park partner, to copyright the handbook and pay for its publication. All proceeds from the book will be reinvested in the park’s interpretive and education programs.
Hartzog Individual Volunteer Award
Vinh Le-Si, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Vinh Le-Si contributed more than 1,000 volunteer hours to Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park in 2015 and was a driving force behind many of the projects that directly benefitted park visitors and volunteer staff. As a member of the Bike Patrol, Vinh volunteered on two patrols per week during riding season, covering a 23 mile stretch from Georgetown to the Seneca Aqueduct. Vinh also served as a member of the Bike Loaner Program and volunteered 76 hours to update the park bulletin boards with accurate information for visitors.
Vinh’s most exceptional achievement was the repair of the park’s canal boat, the Charles F. Mercer. He recruited a volunteer boat maintenance crew to help identify and address the maintenance needs of the boat. He also worked with Friends of Historic Great Falls Tavern, a park partner, to garner technical and financial support.
Hartzog Park Volunteer Program Award
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Through the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal volunteer program, 3,620 volunteers contributed 78,012 hours to the park in 2015. Partnerships with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, the C&O Canal Association and the C&O Canal Trust helped make this program successful.
Volunteers staffed the Hancock Visitor Center every summer weekend, allowing the visitor center to remain open for longer hours. Volunteers also served on a bike patrol along the canal towpath and provided visitor assistance with first aid and trail information. Volunteers played a key role in repairing the park’s canal boat, the Charles F. Mercer. The completion of needed boat repairs will allow the Mercer to carry students and park visitors on educational boat rides this summer.
Last updated: April 19, 2016