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Washington Office
Release Date: 05/19/09
Contacts: Mary Tisdale , 202-452-0365  
  Jeff Krauss , 202-452-5128  

BLM Presents 2009 National Awards to Volunteers Who Are "Making a Difference" on Public Lands

One individual, four groups, two couples, and a BLM employee each received the prestigious Bureau of Land Management (BLM) "Making a Difference" National Volunteer Award for their public service contributions at a May 14, 2009, ceremony at the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C.

The volunteers selected (with the locations of their volunteer work) are:  "NICK’S INTERNS," King Range National Conservation Area, CA; THE SEA RANCH CALIFORNIA COASTAL NATIONAL MONUMENT TASKFORCE, CA; VOLUNTEERS FOR OUTDOOR COLORADO, CO (various sites); JOANNE & DON MURRAY, NV (various sites); KATHY & BRUCE SALSBURY, Lake Valley Historic Townsite, NM; WILLAMETTE RESOURCES AND EDUCATIONAL NETWORK (WREN), Eugene, OR; and CINDY OSTER, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, UT.  The winning BLM employee is PAUL TANNER of BLM’s Amarillo, Texas, Field Office.  As Mr. and Mrs. Murray and Mr. Tanner were unable to attend the ceremony, their awards will be presented at separate BLM ceremonies in their home states.

The featured speaker was Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who expressed his appreciation for the hard work BLM volunteers put into helping the agency fulfill its challenging multiple-use mission:  "From the protection of nation's treasured landscapes to the wise stewardship of our waterways and wildlife, the Department of the Interior relies on the countless volunteers who selflessly give their time and energy to help us protect the places that fuel the American spirit.  As we honor the service of all our volunteers, we recognize the exemplary service of a handful who are the cream of the crop.  These are the individuals who set the standard for service to their communities and their country, and inspire others to follow in their path."  The secretary spoke with each winner individually, and posed for photos with all.Additional speakers included BLM Acting Deputy Director Michael Nedd and Carl Rountree, director of BLM's Office of the National Landscape Conservation System & Community Partnerships.

Those honored this year were recognized for achievements ranging from seabird monitoring to ghost town hosting.  Thousands of BLM volunteers make significant contributions on America's 256 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 2008 alone, for example, BLM volunteers donated more than 1.3 million hours of service, with an estimated value of more than $25 million—equivalent to the work of over 700 full-time employees.

Each year since 1996, 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 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: 10-20-2009