WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne has commended recipients of the Bureau of Land Management’s National Volunteer Awards, saying these committed volunteers are outstanding examples of community partners across the country who help to protect, conserve, and manage the richness of America’s public lands.
“People like all of you put in the long hours and the hard work to make everything this department does possible,” Kempthorne said at a May 10, 2007 ceremony at the U.S. Department of the Interior headquarters building in Washington, D.C. “Thank you for the work you have done. Thank you for the results you help us achieve. And thank you for demonstrating for all to see, that working as team we can accomplish great things.”
The annual BLM “Making a Difference” awards program recognized seven individuals and a volunteer group with the 2007 honors. The volunteers include archeologists, a botanist, trail workers and volunteer coordinators. The recipients were the Arizona Archaeological Society – Ajo Chapter, Phoenix, Ariz., which was represented by Shelby Ballard; David Burton, whose work is carried out in Eastern California/Northwestern Nevada; Steve Smith, of Ridgecrest, California; Alan Robinson, Cañon City, Colorado; Chris Noble, Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Mike Satter, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah.
The BLM Employee Team members honored at the ceremony were Ann Boucher and Sandra Padilla of Montana, who served as co-volunteer coordinators for Clark on the Yellowstone, the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial National Signature Event held at Pompeys Pillar National Monument in July 2006.
“Over the past decade, more than 100 individual volunteers, groups, and BLM employees have been presented with these awards,” said Henri Bisson, BLM deputy director, who presented the awards. “But the activities of those whom we have formally recognized represent only a small fraction of the exceptional contributions that are made every day by thousands of people on public lands throughout our country. BLM is privileged to have such a vital volunteer force assisting in our work.”
The BLM manages 258 million acres of public lands, working with communities across the nation through numerous Cooperative Conservation programs, including the Healthy Lands Initiative, which works with private citizens, organizations, corporations and companies, tribal, state and local authorities.
More than 20,000 BLM volunteers make significant contributions on America’s public lands each year in every aspect of public land management. In 2006 alone, BLM volunteers donated more than 1.3 million hours with an estimated value of more than $25 million, equivalent to the work of more than 700 full-time employees.
Biographical sketches and photos of the award recipients are attached and available online at http://www.doi.gov/news/07_News_Releases/070511.pdf. More information on the BLM volunteer program is online at www.blm.gov.