Bureau of Land Management
Volunteer News

Members of BLM's "Second Workforce" Honored
At 8th Annual "Making a Difference" Awards

by Bibi Booth, BLM Washington Office

Select this link for profiles of the winners

On the morning of May 8, 2003, nine outstanding individuals and teams and one exceptional BLM employee were formally recognized at the agency's 2003 "Making a Difference" National Volunteer Awards. The awards were presented during a special ceremony at the U.S. Department of the Interior's historic South Penthouse and Roof Terrace in Washington, D.C.

Winners of BLM 2003 National Volunteer Awards
Pictured, left to right (regardless of row): Billie Gayle Young, President, Nevada Chapter, National Wild Horse Association (NWHA); Neal White; Craig Leets (NWHA); Shari Warren (NWHA); Dave "Big Bear" Johnson; Sarah Clayson; Otto Brock, Mimbres Archaeological Team; Hollie Becker; Jerry Vine; Pat Vine; Hannah Becker; Cathy Becker; Karen Clayson; Janet Tipton; Cliff Tipton; Sherry Gerrish; and John Gerrish. Not pictured: Cara Wardlaw-Bailey & Beryl Wardlaw, and BLM employee winner Linda Berkey.

BLM Director Kathleen Clarke, unable to attend because of a prior commitment, offered her thanks and congratulations to this year's winners via a videotaped message. She noted, "In recognition of the importance of volunteerism, this year we have renewed our commitment to Take Pride in America. It is particularly fitting that we take the time to recognize those who best exemplify this ideal."

Elena Daly, BLM Assistant Director, National Landscape Conservation System, and Bob Johns, BLM Deputy Assistant Director, Communications, were featured speakers and presenters. Guests in attendance included BLM Washington Office program managers and staff, as well as Casper (WY) Field Office Manager Jim Murkin, Las Vegas (NV) Field Office Manager Mark Morse, Eastern States Public Affairs Officer Terry Lewis, Jackson (MS) Volunteer Coordinator Faye Winters, and Public Lands Foundation President George Lea. A "meet and greet" brunch reception and a multimedia tribute to the award winners and their diverse accomplishments rounded out the morning. Guided tours of selected Washington-area attractions and a "VIP" barge trip on the historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, courtesy of the National Park Service, were also on the schedule for the guests of honor during their three-day stay in the nation's capital.

The 2003 winners are some of America's most passionate volunteers, having donated significant time and effort—and sometimes even their own funds—in the year 2002 on behalf of America's 260 million acres of BLM

The nine winning private individuals, teams, and organizations are: Neal White, Jupiter, FL; Cara Wardlaw-Bailey & Beryl Wardlaw, Anchorage, AK; National Wild Horse Association, Las Vegas, NV; Mimbres Archaeological Team, Las Cruces, NM; John & Sherry Gerrish, Tularosa, NM; Cliff & Janet Tipton, Salt Lake City, UT; Cathy, Hannah, & Hollie Becker and Karen & Sarah Clayson, Casper, WY; Jerry & Pat Vine, Lone Pine, CA; and David "Big Bear" Johnson, Bakersfield, CA. The BLM employee selected as an award winner for her outstanding leadership in the BLM Volunteer Program is Linda Berkey of the Grand Junction (CO) Field Office.

A national panel of BLM and partner organization representatives selected the winners from a large pool of nominations submitted by BLM State Offices and Centers. The award recipients were chosen for their exceptional efforts in management and conservation of the public lands and their resources, as well as educational initiatives that increase public knowledge of those lands and resources. Boundless enthusiasm appears to be a shared trait among BLM's volunteers, as well. As one 2003 winner put it, "BLM volunteers should take heed: if the agency ever finds out how much fun we have at this work, they might just ask us to pay them for the privilege!"

BLM recruits approximately 20,000 volunteers each year to perform a variety of jobs, from campground host to archaeologist to educator. In 2002 alone, these good citizens contributed more than 1 million hours of their time to the public lands, worth an estimated $16 million. In many instances, volunteers serve as BLM's first point of contact with the public, playing an important ambassadorial role for the agency. In some remote areas, campgrounds and other recreation sites would be closed were it not for volunteer assistance. In order to acknowledge these invaluable volunteer contributions, BLM initiated its "Making a Difference" National Awards in 1995, holding its first recognition ceremony in 1996. This year's observance marked the eighth annual presentation of these awards.

Last Updated: June 4, 2003

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