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.
James C. Thompson was recognized in the individual category as a one-man army in the fight against litter in the town of Ardmore, Oklahoma. He began his crusade by inspiring and instigating an underwater and shoreline cleanup at Lake Murray. He titled the movement “Clean up the Dam Trash”, and enlisted the help of local divers and volunteers to clear trash and debris from the popular vacation locale. Thompson constructed metal cages to transport thousands of pounds of trash. Thompson decided to involve his community at area football games also. He provided attendees with litter bags in which to place their garbage. Then, following the game, Thompson would himself transport the trash to the local landfill. The community reaction inspired Ardmore citizens to initiate their own Ardmore Go-Green Day. He also removed outdated appliances from citizens’ homes, and ensured the safe removal of their dangerous biohazards.
“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