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Washington, D.C.
Release Date: 05/07/10
Contacts: Mary Tisdale , (202/912-7450)  
News Release No.

The BLM Presents 2010 National Awards to Volunteers Who Are "Making a Difference" on Public Lands

Four individuals, two groups, one couple, and a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 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 volunteers honored (with the locations of their volunteer work) were: John Scheuring,Ironwood Forest National Monument, AZ; Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area’s Volunteers, CA; Matt Dillon, Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, MT; Red Rock Canyon Cultural Resource Team, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, NV; Pat and Chuck Williams, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, NV; Khrystyl Best, Fisherman’s Bend Recreation Site, OR; and Chuck Frazier, Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area, OR. 

Noël Stephens, California Desert District Office, CA, was the winning BLM employee.

This year, for the first time, fully half of the award winners were acknowledged for work on sites within the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System, celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2010.

The featured speaker was BLM Director Bob Abbey, who expressed his appreciation for the hard work that BLM volunteers put into helping the agency fulfill its challenging multiple-use mission: “The BLM is grateful for the assistance of such interested citizens, who believe in our mission, who love the public lands, and who are willing to volunteer their time and energy in a spirit of cooperation. Their efforts support President Obama’s newly-established America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, which directs the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture to take a leadership role in engaging with partners to benefit our nation’s ‘outdoor legacy.’” 

The Director spoke with each winner individually, and posed for photos with all.

 Additional speakers included Jim Murkin, Deputy Director of the BLM’s Office of the National Landscape Conservation System and Community Partnerships, and BLM Associate State Directors for States that had winners.

Those honored this year were recognized for achievements ranging from weed eradication to wild horse tracking, from rock art documentation to enhancement of elk habitat. Thousands of BLM volunteers make significant contributions on America’s 253 million acres of public lands each year, performing numerous functions in every aspect of public land management. Many of these jobs, such as campground management and trail repair, would simply not get done without volunteer support.  In 2009 alone, for example, BLM volunteers donated approximately 1.1 million hours of service, equivalent to the work of more than 600 full-time employees.

Each year since 1996, the BLM has honored the most exceptional of these volunteers, as well as BLM employees who work with volunteers, through its “Making a Difference” National Volunteer Awards program. This program supports the President’s emphasis on community service, and is also part of the “Take Pride in America” initiative.

The BLM’s 2010 “Making a Difference” honorees are profiled here (PDF file, 135 kb, 4 pages)

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

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Last updated: 05-07-2010