Today we have some exciting news for our staff, volunteers, supporters and fans…

Wilderness Volunteers has been selected by the National Park Service for the 2017 Wes Henry National Excellence in Wilderness Stewardship Award in the external partner category!

The Director’s Wes Henry National Excellence in Wilderness Stewardship Award recognizes outstanding contributions to wilderness stewardship by an individual or group and has been presented annually since 1993.

The award was established to recognize and foster excellence in the Agency’s wilderness stewardship efforts by an individual, a group/team, and non-governmental partner (new category), including those involving interpretation and education; management of natural, cultural, and social resources; planning; protection; and maintenance operations.

Award recipients are nominated by National Park Service staff and selected by an interdisciplinary panel. This year’s awardees will be recognized during an awards ceremony in Washington, DC in August 2018.

Here’s the award write-up from an article published on Inside NPS (internal NPS website):
Non-Government Partner Award: Wilderness Volunteers

“Over 2,400 people have made their way across the nation to volunteer at Apostle Islands, Big Bend, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Haleakala, North Cascades, Pinnacles, Saguaro, Zion, to name just some of the 32 park units where volunteers under the auspices of the service-oriented organization Wilderness Volunteers have taken a week of “vacation” to assist NPS staff with vital projects. Established in 1997, the mission of this non-profit is “stewardship of America’s wild lands through organizing and promoting volunteer service in cooperation with public land agencies,” including the NPS. Volunteer leaders and volunteers, ranging from ages 18 to 85, have implemented over 230 week-long service projects in national park units with wilderness and backcountry.”

“In the wilderness of Olympic National Park, these volunteers have contributed almost 7,000 hours to the park’s wilderness restoration projects. Work included delineating and improving campsites and preparing tens of thousands of square feet of bare ground for revegetation by breaking up compacted soils with pulaskis and hand tools. The groups’ efforts resulted in successful restoration within the wilderness: expansive areas of compacted bare ground sites now display full-sized native shrubs and a thriving and diverse plant community – a testimony to these volunteers’ outstanding work. Their consistently high quality labor and the amazing quantity of work completed within one week provides critical accomplishments that otherwise would not have occurred. The volunteer project work in turn inspires participants to come away from the experience with a new or renewed knowledge and love for wilderness, fostered by the Wilderness Volunteer’s commitment to wilderness stewardship.”

Stay tuned for more information as well as a blog post about the award ceremony in August!