U.S. Department of the InteriorDOI News Header

July 19, 2007
Contacts: Heather Roebke (202) 208-3975
Ron Tull (202) 208-5089

Local Groups Win 2007 Take Pride in America® National Awards

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 Thursday, July 19 in Washington, D.C. The individuals and groups from across the country were recognized 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 Pennsylvania were the Power Washers of North America of Quakertown. The Power Washers of North America won in the Best Corporate Volunteer Program for their efforts in pressure cleaning the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials in Washington, D.C. Last year a group of 16 power wash contractors and suppliers combined their efforts to complete this project. The group was faced with a bevy of problems in their quest to brighten two of our Nation’s most famed memorials. The contractors had to find a way to release 50,000 gallons of water and still remain in compliance within the regulations of the Clean Water Act. This massive amount of water was properly filtered thanks to some ingenuity and generosity by business partners. This “Dream Team” of contractors accomplished a 10-day project in one 16 hour stretch! Despite the many obstacles, the Power Washers of North America and their partners finished the job, which has been heralded by many for its efficiency and beauty.

Winning in the Federal Land Manager category was Tara Whitsel, a Raystown Lake Park Ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was instrumental in making the volunteer program a resounding success. Tara worked closely with the volunteers to recruit civic and school groups for a cleanup day. Volunteers cleaned sections of the 125-mile shoreline, and sorted trash to be recycled. She redesigned the Eco-Meet program - a one day environmental competition for middle school age students, and she also played a major role in the formation of the Raystown Conservation Education Partnership committee. The goal of RayCEP is to provide conservation education programs for visitors of all ages who come to the Raystown Lake region. Tara Whitsel’s commitment to education, environment and cooperation has proved to be irreplaceable. Her relentless enthusiasm and work ethic has made Raystown Lake a benchmark for volunteer partnership programs.

“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.

Take Pride in America®, an initiative of the U.S. Department of the Interior, is a nationwide partnership program which inspires Americans to volunteer in caring for their public lands. Their goal is to instill an active sense of ownership and responsibility in every citizen for natural, cultural and historic resources, and to support and recognize the efforts of those who volunteer for public lands. Through a web-based search engine, Take Pride offers a database of short-term and long-term volunteer projects on public lands, as well as assistance for project planning. Additionally, Take Pride rewards exceptional volunteer service by individuals and groups with awards and appreciation certificates. It’s Your Land, Lend a Hand! For more information, visit www.TakePride.gov.

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

Non-Profit Organization

  • The Friends of Hunting Island State Park, Inc. Loggerhead Sea Turtle Conservation Project; Saint Helena Island, SC

Public/Private Partnership

  • California Golden Trout Restoration Program; Golden Trout Wilderness, CA

Federal Event/Program

  • Antietam National Battlefield Volunteers; Sharpsburg, MD

School Program

  • 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

Faith-Based Group

  • 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

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