Bureau of Land Management
Volunteer News

Profiles of BLM's 2004 "Making A Difference" National Volunteer Award Winners

BLM Bakersfield, California, Field Office

For two years, Carole Adams has volunteered with the Piedras Blancas Light Station, administered by the Bakersfield Field Office. In 2003, Carole researched, planned, and organized a volunteer effort to remove exotic plant species and revegetate this 19-acre site with native plants. As part of this project, she formed a working group of native-plant and invasive-species authors, researchers, and professors to serve as advisors, and recruited nearly a dozen volunteers to serve as her native-plant restoration team. To assist volunteers in the identification of the more than 24 invasive plant species that infest this site, Carole wrote and published a field guide entitled WEEDS: Invasive Species Guide to Piedras Blancas. She has also instructed her team on cultural resources identification to protect Native American sites that might be exposed during the restoration process. Carole also designed a monitoring program, established a sample collection of invasive species, and created a weeds photo gallery to teach BLM staff, volunteers, and site visitors proper identification techniques.

BLM Ridgecrest, California, Field Office

During George Baland's four years as a volunteer with the Ridgecrest Field Office, he has set up major BLM volunteer projects every other month on average and assembled a volunteer cadre of more than 200 individuals. Three years ago, George and his team began a volunteer project to restore and preserve the Siebert Mine site, a historic (ca. 1913) mining area with three historic structures, hiking trails, and primitive campsites. During 2003, George organized four major volunteer projects to continue improvement of the site; his team put in more than 700 hours of physical work, including clean-up and general maintenance, interpretive sign installation, and table and bench construction. During their weekly visits to the Siebert Area, George's team contributed an additional 350 hours in personal contact with visitors, discussing the history of the area, explaining BLM activities within the Ridgecrest District, and stressing the importance of caring for the public lands and saving historic structures. George also conducted a series of BLM volunteer outings to various California public lands sites in order to provide volunteers with the firsthand information necessary to accurately answer visitor questions.

BLM Eastern States, Jackson Field Office

A veteran volunteer with the Jackson, Mississippi, Field Office's Wild Horse and Burro Program in Florida, Diane Delano's dedication to the program began soon after she adopted her first wild horse from BLM in 1988 (she has since adopted seven more, plus one burro!). Since then, she has not missed one BLM adoption event in Florida, and has more recently been traveling to other states to conduct wild horse "gentling" clinics for new horse adopters. Diane also participates in educational seminars, spends endless hours conducting outreach to local schools and youth groups, and has hosted several "Mustang Awareness Days" within her community. She runs a rescue center for mustangs—the only one of its kind in the East—which also serves as a training facility for wild horses, and assists BLM with removal and rehabilitation of wild horses in need of special care prior to re-adoption.

BLM Carson City, Nevada, Field Office

Alvin McLane, a volunteer with the Carson City Field Office, has recorded more than 120 separate cultural sites—including petroglyphs, rock rings, and lithic scatters—in the Dry Lake Area of northwestern Nevada. Thanks to Alvin's dedication, each site is now documented with a Global Positioning System record, a site form, and a datum point photo reference. In 2003, Alvin assisted the Nevada Rock Art Foundation in starting a full-scale monitoring program at Dry Lakes. Each month, six to eight volunteers assist with the monitoring program; Alvin is now considered to be Nevada's leading rock art recorder. He is one of the original members of Am-Arcs, a local non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Nevada's archaeology and Native American prehistory. Through this group, Alvin is now training site monitors and recorders to continue his legacy of cultural resource preservation.

BLM Medford, Oregon, District Office

Jim Hutchins and his Oregon Stewardship program have become an integral part of the Medford District's educational outreach efforts. He travels 1,000+ miles each month to bring environmental education programs to schools all over southwestern Oregon. Program activities include trail work, habitat studies, "fish watch" projects, data collection, mapping, and creative writing, presented in settings ranging from traditional classrooms to outdoor tours. Jim has adapted his program components to interest students from the primary grades through high school, and each year hosts a science fair in which students present projects involving watershed health. Jim now even offers some high school students the opportunity to win college scholarships.

BLM Moab, Utah, Field Office

The hosts of the Windwhistle Campground, Bob and Kathy Bailey have been volunteers in the Moab Field Office's Canyon Rims Recreation Area since 1995. Their many services include litter patrol, painting, weeding, campsite maintenance, and nature trail repair. In fact, they provide such personal attention to visitors that many campers return to Windwhistle year after year specifically because of Bob and Kathy, who have truly helped BLM shine in the eyes of the public. They are also working with BLM biologists, the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources, and The Nature Conservancy to conduct a multi-year study of neotropical bird migration. Bob and Kathy also assist BLM in the maintenance of wildlife guzzlers and the monitoring of riparian conditions throughout the district.

Dr. Dawn Sebesta (1947-2003), founder of the RINS group.
BLM Salt Lake, Utah, District Office

Members of the RINS Group, established in 2000, have worked long hours in remote desert locations to identify, protect, and monitor nesting raptors and nest sites within BLM's 3.2-million-acre Salt Lake District. Each volunteer locates raptor nests, checks historical nest sites for signs of recent activity, determines nest productivity, and records all findings. The group compiles an annual report on raptor nesting activity, nest success, and nestling survival; this information helps BLM's Salt Lake managers to evaluate the condition and health of the public lands within their care. Qualified RINS volunteers even band raptor nestlings. In 2003 alone, the RINS Group boasted 108 volunteers, who together contributed 808 days of field work, driving an amazing 74,943 miles to monitor 1,386 raptor nests.


BLM Kingman, Arizona, Field Office

An archaeologist with the Kingman Field Office, John Rose has utilized volunteers in the BLM Cultural Resources Program since he began his BLM career in 1998. Among the 2003 accomplishments of John's volunteers, in conjunction with numerous partner groups, are archaeological surveys of 1,970 acres, recordation of 41 new prehistoric sites, documentation of 17 at-risk rock art sites, a historic building survey, and a survey of Hualapai Indian War battlefields. John is also actively engaged in educational outreach efforts, serving as the regional coordinator for the Arizona Site Stewards program, giving presentations at local schools and civic groups, and organizing local cultural resources workshops and training sessions. John continues to actively plan volunteer projects and to recruit and utilize volunteers and partners to further the objectives of both BLM as a whole and the Cultural Resources Program in particular.

National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, Casper, Wyoming

Gayle Irwin, the volunteer coordinator for the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper, Wyoming, was the first BLM staff member hired at the Center, which opened in 1999. She supervises and schedules work for a regular, year-round volunteer staff of 60, who donated 4,660 hours of their time in 2003 alone. These volunteers provide necessary visitor services, as the Center employs only four full-time BLM employees. Gayle has implemented bi-monthly volunteer training sessions and has worked with guest speakers to provide volunteers with fresh ideas and new strategies for engaging and educating visitors. She has also organized two volunteer awards ceremonies, acknowledging the work of her volunteer staff and reflecting her sincere admiration for these generous individuals. As a result of Gayle's dedication, the volunteer turnover rate at the Center is among the lowest in BLM.

Last Updated: May 28, 2004

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Bureau of Land Management
Environmental Education and Volunteer Programs