On April 22, 2014, ARMN president Marion Jordon accepted the 2013 Bill Thomas Outstanding Park Service Volunteer Award from the Arlington Parks and Recreation Commission at the County Board’s regular meeting. The award is given in the name of lifelong parks volunteer Bill Thomas and honors both individuals and groups who have demonstrated a “passionate dedication and support” for Arlington’s natural resources and public open spaces.
The award was presented by Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Caroline Haynes, who noted that her unusual circumstance of being both a current ARMN member and former ARMN board member, along with fellow commission member Elizabeth Gearin, made it necessary to recuse herself from the consideration of the group award.
Wearing her Parks and Rec hat on the night, however, Haynes described ARMN as “an incredible group of dedicated volunteers” and cited the organization’s very impressive 10,000 hours of volunteer hours in 2013 alone, which included 2,350 hours in environmental education, 4,660 hours in invasive plant removal and other stewardship efforts, and 1,280 hours of data collection and management for citizen science projects. Haynes went on to acknowledge, “I know first-hand the hard work that the naturalists do on a daily basis and applaud their work and dedication” before extending her thanks to her “fellow Arlington Regional Master Naturalists.”
In accepting the award on behalf of the group, Jordan expressed her thanks for the award and also the opportunity for the partnership with Arlington County, adding “We look forward to continuing our service in the community in the years ahead.”
A reception was held for award recipients and their supporters immediately after the presentation. Winners of the individual awards were also on hand: Keith Fred, who was cited for his efforts on behalf of the Shirlington Community Canine Area and Peter Jones, who was recognized for his work to beautify and maintain the grounds of the Walter Reed Recreation Center.