Awards recognize exceptional volunteer service
Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams today announced the winners of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s 2013 Denny Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Stewardship. The winners are a cross-section of Seattle’s most tenacious, creative and hard-working volunteers who donate precious time and energy to improving Seattle’s parks and recreational programs.
“It is always difficult for us to choose winners,” Williams said. “All of our volunteers make valuable contributions for which we are deeply grateful. Our intention is to single out those whose work builds community, inspires others and improves lives.”
Each year, more than 40,000 volunteers donate about 350,000 hours to Seattle Parks and Recreation. Their service is valued at between $8 million and $10 million annually. Winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony on Dec. 3 at the Museum of History and Industry.
Mary Ann T. Wiley (posthumous)
Mary Ann became a true friend and benefactor of the Seattle Japanese Garden when she signed up for guide training with the Arboretum Unit 86 volunteer group in 2003. Her enthusiasm for the garden was infectious. She led more tours than most guides. In 2007 she and her husband Bob made the commitment to raise $500,000 which was half the private funds needed to create the Japanese Garden entry gatehouse. They did this in less than 90 days. Mary Ann died on October 7, 2013, age 83. She is survived by Bob, their two children Robert and Ann, and three granddaughters, Marene, Reagan and Tory.
Healthy Parks Healthy You Award
Jim coached for Rain City Flyers since the team was organized in 1989, becoming head coach in 1994. The Rain City Flyers is a volunteer organization that partners with Seattle Parks and Recreation to provide opportunities for youth to compete in track and cross-country. Jim is an amazing coach: always positive, he has an easygoing, quiet coaching style appreciated by parents and young athletes alike. His coaching builds a strong community that helps build a positive future for youth in Seattle. Thanks to Jim’s leadership, thousands of youth have learned about cross country, track and field, and most importantly, about life skills.
Wildlife Advocate Award
Birding Volunteers at Discovery Park
The birding volunteers at Discovery Park help Seattle Parks and Recreation as bird tour leaders and citizen scientists conducting a monthly Neighborhood Bird Project survey. have volunteered for over a decade; the stalwarts Neil Zimmerman and Dan Harville have volunteered since the early 1980s. The bordering volunteers combine commitment to Discovery Park, commitment to birds, the ability to contribute to science, and a sense of community developed with fellow volunteers, park staff, and members of the public who enjoy and learn from the seasonal bird tours.
Youth Community Stewardship Award
Ryther Aspiring Youth Program
Over the past seven years, the children and teens in the Aspiring Youth Summer Camp have contributed over 10,000 volunteer hours with Seattle Parks and Recreation. As volunteers, campers build a connection to the parks as they work to improve the beautiful natural settings. In the summer of 2013, over 180 campers contributed 2,200 hours of community service at Ravenna Park. Campers have contributed over 1,200 hours each summer since 2007. The young people in Aspiring Youth Summer Camp have autism spectrum disorder and other similar traits. Their experience building trails and improving habitat in the parks gives them an opportunity to give back to the community and gain self-confidence.
Making a Difference Award
Alfred Love, Jr.
Alfred has coached in Seattle Parks and Recreation programs since 1985. He is dedicated to working with area youth: coaching basketball and teaching life skills through sports. Alfred has coached as many as four teams during one season. He has volunteered at Rainier Beach, Van Asselt and Rainier Community Centers throughout his coaching career. In 2009, Alfred created the non-profit organization Seattle Youth Recreation Foundation to enhance the experience of Seattle Parks and Recreation community centers youth. His organizations host all-season basketball and provides scholarships.
Conservation and Environmental Stewardship Award
Friends of Cheasty Greenspace at Mt. View, co-founders Mary DeJong and Andrea Ostrovsky
Mary DeJong and Andrea Ostrovsky, co-founders of the Friends of Cheasty Greenspace at Mt. View, have led the community and Friends of Cheasty at Mt. View on a mission to reclaim, restore and re-imagine 10 acres of natural area in a 43-acre forested area that separates Beacon Hill and the Rainier Valley. Over many years, this group has tirelessly demonstrated exceptional stewardship of 10 beautiful acres of parkland and has provided significant and much-needed advocacy to benefit this greenspace. The vision of the Friends of Cheasty Greenspace at Mt. View is expansive and inclusive: in the past six years its dedicated volunteers have put in over 6,000 hours to create a healthy urban wilderness to provide a safe and welcoming place for everyone—especially urban children and youth—to enjoy.
Cheryl Klinker is committed to Thornton Creek watershed. For Many years, she has been on a mission to educate the community and share her passion about watershed restoration. Her volunteer work encompasses stewardship of green spaces and participation on several committees. Cheryl was a member of the Seattle Parks and Recreation Naming Committee and a member of the Citizens Oversight Committee for the 2000 Pro Parks Levy. Cheryl is an effective team member and leader with a vision for creek restoration. She emphasizes watershed education and community building in all her work. Cheryl is currently the chair of the Thornton Creek Watershed Oversight Council.
Seattle Parks and Recreation is extremely grateful to the thousands of people who dedicate themselves “to be good stewards of our environment, and to provide safe and welcoming opportunities to play, learn, contemplate, and build community.” This year’s nominees include:
- Stephanie Angelis, volunteer at Lincoln Park through Puget Soundkeeper Alliance
- Rich Appleton, volunteer at Nora’s Woods and Leschi Natural Area
- Jim Corson, leader for Friends of Burke Gilman Trail
- David Dougherty, founder of the Olmsted Park Trust
- Carol Fisher, president of Lifelong Recreation Advisory Council
- Friends of Jackson Park Trail, advocates for and participants in the implementation of Jackson Park Trail
- Friends of Martha Washington Park, Committed to restoration of Martha Washington Park
- Groundswell Northwest, volunteers bringing parks and greenspaces to northwest Seattle
- Homeless Remembrance Project Committee, advocated for and commissioned the Tree of Life in Victor Steinbrueck Park
- Abdullahi “Abdi” Hussein, community organizer and founder of Techno-Formation Vocational Services
- Mat and Whitney McBride, leaders in community build project and renovation of Roxhill Park Playground
- Michael Neguse, community organizer responsible for Ethiopian/Eritrean elder meal program and community lunch
- Tami Oki, leader in Seattle Canoe/Kayak Club and Green Lake Small Craft Center Advisory member and volunteer
- Judy Pickens, founder and member of executive committee for Fauntleroy Watershed Council
- Rainier Beach Community Center Opening Event Committee
- Karen Ritter, Center for Off-Leash Area co-steward at Lower Woodland Park Off-Leash Area
- Julianna Ross, Sand Point Arts and Cultural Exchange and Magnuson Park Advisory Committee member
- Paul Swanson, Sabey Construction and Team, re-built Georgetown Playfield picnic shelter
- Rob Wunder, president Hiawatha Advisory Council
The Denny Awards are named after David T. and Louisa Denny, who donated land for the first Seattle park in 1884 (Denny Park), where Seattle Parks and Recreation headquarters is located.
Seattle Parks and Recreation gratefully acknowledges the Denny Award sponsors and supporters: the Museum of History and Industry, Seattle Parks Foundation, Associated Recreation Council, Parker Design House, Ivar’s, Seattle Aquarium, Seattle Japanese Garden, and Tom Douglas Restaurants.
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