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 News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 432 

 Photos from the 'Making a Difference' Awards

California volunteers and a BLM-California employee each received the prestigious BLM “Making a Difference” National Volunteer Award for their public service contributions at a May 5, 2010, ceremony at the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. The California winners are the volunteers at Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area, and Noël Stephens of BLM's California Desert District.

A boy holds photos in a frame, in front of two smiling women and a smiling man
Noël Stephens with son Ryland, Lynda Boody, Bob Abbey

Front row:  volunteer winner Matt Dillon, MT, with wife Kimberly; Ryland Stephens, son of employee winner Noël Stephens, CA Back row:  volunteer winners Abel and Toni Martinez, representing Piedras Blancas Light Station Volunteers, CA; John Scheuring, AZ; winner Chuck Frazier,  OR, with fiancée, Carol Aaron; Khrystyl Best, OR, with husband, Dan; Chuck & Pat Williams, NV; employee winner Noël Stephens, CA; and Martha Burk and   Gary Vetter, representing the Red Rock Cultural Resource Team, NV

Winning BLM employee: Noël Stephens, California Desert District: In her capacity as the BLM Volunteer Coordinator for the California Desert District, Noël Stephens coordinates and oversees District volunteer activities and projects, including organizing and leading BLM’s participation at the annual Los Angeles County Fair and coordinating the Wonderful Outdoor World campout for inner-city youth in El Mirage. Noël’s support of the BLM Volunteer Program at the national level is also significant. As chair of the BLM’s Volunteer Program Adjunct Team, she coordinates the Team’s conference calls, compiles and distributes call minutes, tracks assignments, and coordinates responses to numerous program-related inquiries from BLM field staff. Noël also serves as an instructor for the BLM’s Basic Volunteer Administration training course, which equips participants with knowledge of current Federal regulations, program policies, and agency procedures, and acquaints them with online resources and other tools to assist them in working with volunteers. As a trainer, Noël is required to have a mastery of the subject matter and an ability to respond to participant questions on a broad range of Volunteer Program technical issues. Preparation of course materials, travel to field offices, course delivery, and follow-up work are all undertaken in addition to Noël’s regular duties as a BLM Contact Representative. Noël approaches every task with good cheer, professionalism, and generosity, , and she has helped to make other BLM Volunteer Coordinators “the best that they can be.”

Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area's volunteers: Piedras Blancas’s dedicated volunteers come from neighboring communities to assist BLM in protecting the 135-year-old light station’s natural, historic, and prehistoric resources, as well as to support onsite scientific research and education. The group’s volunteers have performed tasks as varied as guiding tours, removing non-native ice plant, and remodeling the historic “Fuel Storage Shed” into a visitor center and gift shop. With only two employees at the site—an interpretive ranger and a park ranger—BLM could not possibly accomplish the work that these volunteers complete each year. And they “grow their own,” too: between Fiscal Year 2008 and FY 2009, for example, Piedras Blancas volunteer hours increased by an impressive 68 percent. Even more startling is the fact that the value of those contributions equates to a figure that is $100,000 more than the BLM funds allocated for management of the light station.

The BLM presents 2010 national awards to volunteers who are 'Making a Difference' on public lands (BLM news release, 5/5/10)

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 432

Last updated: 05-19-2010