U.S. Department of the InteriorDOI News Header

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

Yuma Man Wins 2007 Take Pride in America® National Award

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.

Jack Simes of Yuma, Arizona won in the Federal Land Manager category. An External Coordination Manager for the Bureau of Reclamation Yuma Area Office, Simes inspires numerous volunteer and civic groups to care for public lands. Jack has been able to organize highly successful large-scale cleanups, recruit hundreds of volunteers, and coordinate with sponsors for support. In the past year, Mr. Simes has managed two major cleanup projects in the Yuma area. The first, with the help of 350 volunteers, cleaned the lower Colorado River, netting 40 tons of trash and debris. They even extracted 6 cars from the river! The second project featured 127 volunteers and cleaned a 320 acre parcel of land in the heart of the city of Yuma. This yielded 13 tons of trash, 15 gallons of oil and 31 used car batteries. All dangerous materials were recycled or properly disposed, and the group was able to engage the entire community with their efforts. Thanks to his tremendous management skills, Jack Simes was able to successfully unite the resources of the Bureau of Reclamation and Yuma residents to make a positive difference for their public lands.

“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

— DOI —