A volunteer team that maintains the native plant garden at Channel Islands National Park has received national recognition as the winners of the prestigious National Park Service (NPS) Hartzog Volunteer Group Award.
The team of 15 volunteers contributed over 1,300 hours caring for the park’s native plant garden and nursery this past year. Collectively, they have contributed the equivalent of 73 years of volunteer service, with an average service of ten years each.
They are passionate about creating an experience on the mainland that mirrors the island plant communities of the Mediterranean ecosystem, one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world.
“The native garden volunteers provide a service that benefits the entire community and are especially deserving of this significant award honoring their hard work and dedication,” said Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Ethan McKinley. “The national park is fortunate to have many inspirational volunteers who contribute a great deal to its stewardship.”
Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary are hosting a virtual award ceremony today at 3:00 pm to recognize the Hartzog winners as well as the outstanding service and milestone achievements of several other volunteers.
A 25-year record of contributing over 5,000 hours is celebrated for visitor center volunteer Frank Foster. Like clockwork every Thursday, Foster provides an invaluable service providing information to park visitors, training new volunteers, caring for the marine life exhibit, and tracking statistics.
The park volunteer of the year, Michael Delaney, wins the Lighthouse Award for his efforts in a diversity of roles. The multi-talented Delaney volunteers as a naturalist, visitor center information specialist, native plant gardener, island restoration work leader, AV technician, and is a caretaker for the historic Fresnel lens on Anacapa Island. In 2019, Delaney contributed time equivalent to a third of a full-time employee.
Linda Windsor is recognized with the Channel Islands Naturalist Corps (CINC) Blue Whale Award for providing high-quality interpretive services on the islands and at community events consistently the past five years.
The CINC, a joint program between the park and sanctuary, boasts of nearly 150 volunteers who contributed 57,000 hours, the equivalent value of over 28 full-time positions this past year.
The park and sanctuary volunteers come from all walks of life with backgrounds as engineers, teachers, students, and retirees. They conduct work in maintenance, research, education, island restoration projects, on the islands, mainland, and on vessels.
These volunteers will be recognized during a virtual broadcast held today at 3:00 pm at Live Broadcast.
About the Award
The Hartzog Volunteer Group Award recognizes the exemplary work of an organized group to improve conditions for the park resources, facilities or operations, and/or visitors; developing community partnerships; and/or providing a positive, supportive work environment.
In 1970 NPS Director George B. Hartzog, Jr. established the NPS Volunteers-In-Parks program. During Hartzog’s tenure (1964 to 1972), 70 sites were added to the National Park System and he championed historic preservation, urban recreation, interpretation and environmental education. Hartzog recognized the need to make it easier for citizens to donate, without compensation, their time and talents to the NPS.
After his retirement, Hartzog made a generous donation to the National Park Foundation that is used to support awards that honor the efforts of exceptional volunteers, groups, and park VIP programs.
For more information visit: NPS Hartzog Award
To volunteer visit: Channel Islands Volunteer Program
For more information about Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary visit: channelislands.noaa.gov