Annual awards recognize outstanding volunteer service
Today Superintendent Jesús Aguirre announced the winners of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s 2015 Denny Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Stewardship. The winners are a cross-section of Seattle’s most creative, dedicated and hard-working volunteers who donate precious time and energy to improving Seattle’s parks and recreation programs.
“It was difficult for us to choose winners,” Aguirre said. “To us, all of our volunteers are winners. We are so grateful to the many people who make Seattle Parks and Recreation shine.”
In 2014, 36,633 people volunteered for Seattle Parks and Recreation, providing 257,152 hours of service. Winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony on Dec. 1, 2015 at the Museum of Flight.
Rusty (Gwyneth) Llewellyn
Kubota Garden Foundation
As soon as she retired as a public school teacher, Rusty Llewellyn became very active in the work of the Kubota Garden Foundation. She joined the foundation in 1991, trained as a Garden Guide in 1992, joined the board and then was elected Vice President in 1998. In 2000, she was elected president and served for three years. Elected again in 2007, Rusty served as president for another five years. During her term, she played an integral role in building the Tom Kubota Stroll Garden, the Millennium Fence, the Traditional Wall and the Entry Gate. In 2001, she volunteered to chair the two annual plant sales and continued in that position through 2014 leading 28 sales for the foundation. Kubota Garden is located in southeast Seattle.
Volunteer Park Trust
Doug Bayley has served as the chair of Volunteer Park Trust since it began in 2012 and also serves on the Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks board. His dedication to Volunteer Park, located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, goes back more than a decade to 2004 when he researched and helped develop content for the Volunteer Park Vegetation Management Plan. Doug helped spearhead creation of the Volunteer Park Trust and has provided unwavering leadership since its inception. Under his guidance, the Trust has raised more than $100,000 to support efforts to restore, protect and preserve Volunteer Park.
Jacqueline Cramer and Glenn Herlihy
Beacon Food Forest
Jacqueline Cramer and Glenn Herlihy started dreaming about a permaculture project at Beacon Food Forest in 2009. They held their first community meeting at the Jefferson Park Lawn Bowling Club the following year have been active in the project ever since. Due to Jacqueline and Glenn’s vision, a biodiverse edible landscape has been created in Jefferson Park, replacing a biologically useless grassy slope. The duo led work parties every month that not only nurtured the land, but fostered relationships among diverse communities on Beacon Hill.
Fremont Peak Park
Jack Tomkinson envisioned a park with a view in upper Fremont in January 2001 and in November 2007, he led the community ribbon cutting celebration for Fremont Peak Park. While working to establish Fremont Peak Park, Jack volunteered at work parties and design charrettes all over town learning to be a more effective park leader. Jack spent time in Magnuson, Ernst, Mt. Baker Ridge Viewpoint, Ballard Commons parks and others. He enlisted park volunteers as he continued his work and led the group to raise $2 million and to help manage the acquisition, design and construction of Fremont Peak Park.
Friends of Roanoke Park
Friends of Roanoke Park was established in the mid-1990s. The Friends maintain, transplant, remove and replace plants and trees in the best interest of the park. They support Seattle Parks and Recreation with turf maintenance and the group raises its own funds and takes initiative on projects. Another one of the group’s priorities is to take care of the large elm trees that border the park. The group has provided care and support to Seattle Parks and Recreation to keep the beautiful trees healthy and free from Dutch elm disease. There are very few strong elms left in the city, and the Friends of Roanoke Park are allowing residents to witness their magnificence.
Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee
2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy
The Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee has done an excellent job providing oversight of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s management of the 2008 levy. The committee has always stepped up to the requirements of effective oversight – doing its homework, asking tough questions and reviewing complicated financial information. The public’s support for the Park District ballot initiative can partly be attributed to the valuable, insightful oversight provided by the committee as it gave evidence to the public that the department was efficiently and effectively managing the levy.
Asian Counseling and Referral Service
Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) has been involved with Seattle Parks and Recreation since 2004. The agency has been an instrumental partner in implementing the Lifelong Recreation Food and Fitness programs at Garfield and Miller community centers. ACRS provides and supervises volunteers twice each week at the two sites offering culturally relevant health and wellness activities for Vietnamese and Korean immigrant and refugee elders. The organization’s volunteers are also responsible for meal preparation during each program session, often serving more than 50 adults per day per location.
Brett Eckelberg and family (Connie So, Han Eckelberg, Wen Eckelberg)
Amy Yee Tennis Center and tennis facilities
Brett Eckelberg and his family have been stewards of Seattle Parks and Recreation for years. Brett was one of the first volunteers to support the unique Seattle Quickstart Tennis League that introduced youth to the sport of tennis in their own neighborhoods. Brett recruited youth from the community and intentionally engaged youth of color to ensure that they had access to the game. He continues to volunteer for the program and has taught more than 100 youth.
Green Seattle Partnership
The Green Seattle Partnership Forest Stewards are some of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s most dedicated volunteers. Forest Stewards must coordinate and lead at least four volunteer events each year, work under physically demanding conditions and complete orientation and additional trainings. They lead restoration work parties and educate others about the challenges facing our urban forests. Green Seattle Partnership Forest Stewards bring together volunteers, materials, technical knowledge, and other resources to make on-the-ground forest restoration a reality.
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.” Besides the award winners, this year’s Denny Awards nominees include:
- Ellen Meserow, Citizens for Off-Leash Areas
- Shawn Franklin, Jefferson Community Center Mock Trial
- Family Learning Program Steering Committee members
- Julie Kessler, Jefferson Community Center Mock Trial
- Kim Do, Yesler Good Food Garden
- Russell Odell, Jefferson Community Center Mock Trial
- Melissa Huelsman, Jefferson Community Center Mock Trial
- Phillip Gullage, Miller Good Food Garden
- Roy Bueller, Ballard P-Patch
- Tom Grant, Jefferson Community Center Mock Trial
- Cathy Nunneley, Harrison Ridge Greenbelt
- Jim Corson, Burke-Gilman Trail
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 Denny Award sponsors and supporters: The Associated Recreation Council, Seattle Parks Foundation, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Parker Design House and the Museum of Flight.