WASHINGTON D.C. — Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett today recognized the 2007 Take Pride in America National Award recipients at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. The individuals and groups from across the country were acknowledged for their outstanding contributions to local, state and federal public lands. This year, there were 18 National Award winners representing 12 states and the District of Columbia.
Representing the state of South Carolina was The Friends of Hunting Island State Park, Inc. who received the award in the non-profit organization category for the conservation of Loggerhead sea turtles, the reintroduction of oyster reefs, and the park’s new beachside sea oat plants. The Friends have protected thousands of sea turtle hatchlings and improved the hatch rate of the endangered Loggerhead. The Loggerhead turtles survival rate for the first year is one in one thousand. Volunteers patrol the beaches of the park and ensure that the nests are in safe locations and out of harms way. At the end of 2006 over 4,000 Loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings made it to the ocean from Hunting Island State Park. This important work not only benefits the Loggerhead turtles, but volunteers benefit as well. Many couples who met while patrolling the beach have married and many celebrate anniversaries and birthdays with their fellow team members. The Hunting Island State Park and the entire State of South Carolina will benefit for many years due to the dedication of the Friends and their amazing volunteers.
Following the donation of 20,000 sea oat plants from a local nursery, the Friends united to solicit help from businesses and organizations for the supplies needed to plant the sea oats. Sea oats have extensive root systems which help form sand dunes, protecting against severe weather and beach erosion.
“These are extraordinary individuals and organizations who have tapped into the power of volunteerism to enhance our public lands and improve the experiences of visitors to those lands,” Deputy Secretary Scarlett said.
USA Freedom Corps Acting Director Kathy Wills Wright and Take Pride in America
Executive Director Heather Roebke joined Deputy Secretary Scarlett in presenting
the awards and Clint Eastwood, Take Pride spokesman, addressed the audience
via a recorded video message.
The annual Take Pride in America National Awards recognize specific volunteer projects and efforts in a variety of categories, including youth organization, corporation, public/ private partnership and individual, among others. These awards recognize events, projects and programs targeted at maintaining or enhancing public lands such as parks, rivers, wildlife refuges, cultural and historic sites, local playgrounds and other recreation areas.
Federal land managers were honored for innovative approaches to recruiting volunteers and cultivating their volunteer programs. This year’s awardees represent the National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation.
The Student Conservation Association was also recognized for their support of Take Pride. SCA is working to build the next generation of conservation leaders through internships and volunteer projects. The SCA recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.
2007 Take Pride in America National Award Winners by Category.
- Carolle and Glenn Aldinger; Chincoteague, VA
- Marlene M. Lugg; Winnetka, CA
- James C. Thompson; Ardmore, OK
- The Friends of Hunting Island State Park, Inc. Loggerhead Sea Turtle Conservation Project; Saint Helena Island, SC
- California Golden Trout Restoration Program; Golden Trout Wilderness, CA
- Antietam National Battlefield Volunteers; Sharpsburg, MD
- Wetlands Education Team; West Geauga Middle School, Chesterland, OH
- The Power Washers of North America; Quakertown, PA
State Event / Program
- Lake Wales Ridge Rangers; Lake Placid, FL
Local Government Event
- City of Clifton Clean Communities Program; Clifton, NJ
Youth / Youth Group
- Riley’s Lockhouse Docents; Hagerstown, MD
- Arapahoe and Aurora Colorado Stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Federal Land Manager
- Kevin D. Brandt, Superintendent, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, National Park Service; Hagerstown, MD
- Tara Whitsel, Park Ranger, Raystown Lake, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Hesston, PA
- Steve Brimm, Project Leader, D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Spearfish, SD
- Thomas M. Pogacnik, Wild Horse and Burro Program Manager, California State Office, Bureau of Land Management; Sacramento, CA
- Jack Simes, External Coordination Manager, Lower Colorado Region, Yuma Area Office, Bureau of Reclamation: Yuma, AZ
Outstanding Take Pride Supporter
- Student Conservation Association