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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 281

Two California volunteers recognized with BLM national "Making a Difference" awards

Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne commended recipients of the Bureau of Land Management’s National Volunteer Awards, saying these committed volunteers are outstanding examples of community partners across the country who help to protect, conserve, and manage the richness of America’s public lands.

“People like all of you put in the long hours and the hard work to make everything this department does possible,” Kempthorne said at a May 10, 2007 ceremony at the U.S. Department of the Interior headquarters building in Washington, D.C. "Thank you for the work you have done. Thank you for the results you help us achieve. And thank you for demonstrating for all to see, that working as team we can accomplish great things."

The two California recipients were:

Steve Smith

After serving as BLM-Ridgecrest’s Branch Chief for Recreation and Wilderness as well as the office’s volunteer coordinator, Steve Smith recently retired from Federal service but didn’t miss a beat: immediately upon retiring, he signed up as a BLM-Ridgecrest volunteer. Steve’s work in the Rademacher Hills and Indian Wells Canyon has included trash pickup and outhouse cleaning (now, that’s real dedication), trail maintenance, the placement and upkeep of BLM public information kiosks, and the installation of picnic tables, benches, and trailheads. He also performed maintenance and long-term restoration work at the Seibert Cabin, an old miner’s cabin that hikers may now use for overnight lodging. In July 2006, Steve organized and led an expedition of 40 people in 16 vehicles to the Ballarat Ghost Town, Briggs Mines, and the Barker Ranch in order to generate interest afuture BLM projects. It’s not all field work for Steve, though; he also ventures indoors to attend public ainterest-group meetings on behalf of BLM, and provides the public information and educational materials about BLM and the public lands. And Steve is caring for the future of the BLM Volunteer Program, too: he serves as a program trainer for BLM volunteer coordinators around the nation, and on a BLM teamtechnical program experts.

Below: Steve Smith (left) with Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, and Steve's son
Award winner Steve Smith (left) and his son with Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne

David Burton

David Burton is the principal investigator and driving force behind the Aspen Delineation Project, a collaborative effort among BLM, the U.S. Forest Service, and the California Department of Fish and Game to assess the extent, condition, history of treatment, and management options for aspen trees in eastern California and northwestern Nevada. In 2006, David developed proposals and secured matching grants for a challenge cost-share project that resulted in the restoration of 440 acres of aspen habitat. He also coordinated the implementation of a standardized monitoring protocol to document aspen trends on BLM rangelands. David created and maintains a website that serves as a centralized source of reference information concerning the ecology and management of aspen communities in North America. It is designed to provide bibliographic, research, and management information to all stakeholders, including land and resource managers, scientists, private landowners, and the general public. The aspen restoration and monitoring work stimulated by David Burton in 2006, which continues today, has contributed significantly to BLM’s mission by helping to restore and maintain at-risk resources.

Below: Award winner David Burton (right) with Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne
Award winner David Burton (right) with Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne

BLM California News.bytes, issue 281

Last updated: 05-16-2007