MNA Honors Donors and Volunteers at Friday’s Recognition Dinner

On Friday, October 26, nearly 100 MNA supporters gathered at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing for the 2012 Volunteer and Donor Recognition Dinner. The atmosphere was festive as Trustees, staff, donors and volunteers shared stories and memories.

MNA was pleased to recognize the following individuals for their contributions to MNA:

Youth Volunteer of the Year

Christopher Keller

Volunteering is a family affair for Christopher Keller. His great-uncle, Charlie Goodrich, was a 2010 recipient of MNA’s Volunteer of the Year Award. Youthful Chris and experienced Charlie made a good team as they pulled garlic mustard from the woods of Hamilton Township Coastal Plain Marsh, built and maintained a trail system at Barvicks Sand Dunes, and tended  to the reforestation of old fields at Dowagiac Woods. Despite his youth, Chris has learned well the lesson that volunteer service is the lifeblood of a successful community.

Volunteers of the Year

Paul Messing

Over the past two years, Paul has participated in many volunteer days across the state, most notably spearheading a bridge project at Kernan Memorial Nature Sanctuary. In addition to his work as a steward at Lost Lake Nature Sanctuary and Frinks Pond Plant Preserve, Paul has done a large amount of work for Wilcox-Warnes Nature Sanctuary, visiting frequently to clear the trail, pick up trash and interact with visitors. As an emissary, he also leads hikes and distributes MNA information in the local community.

Mary Powell

Mary serves as the steward for five eastern Upper Peninsula sanctuaries, including MNA’s largest property – the 837-acre Schafer Family Nature Sanctuary at Roach Point. Mary has painstakingly marked each sanctuary’s boundaries accurately, and drives all the way up from her home in Flint to participate in every field trip and volunteer day at each property. Her hard work has been a huge asset to MNA.

Carolyn Reed

Working alongside 2009 Volunteer of the Year Ruth Vail, Carolyn has been an essential member of MNA’s file review team. Over the past few years, Carolyn has helped with some of MNA’s stickiest legal files, tracking down information to make the review process much more complete. Carolyn’s dedication is key to keeping MNA on track to apply for accreditation in 2013.

Clifford Welsch

Cliff serves as the steward at MNA’s Prairie Ronde Savanna and Sauk Indian Trail Plant Preserves, both in St. Joseph County. He organizes and leads numerous volunteer days at each sanctuary and has conducted controlled burns on his own for several years. Cliff’s work at these sanctuaries has been invaluable.

Mason and Melvin Schafer Distinguished Service Award

The Mason and Melvin Schafer Distinguished Service Award recognizes exceptional volunteer contributions to MNA over a minimum of 10 years.

Margaret Moran

As an “explorer” for MNA co-founder Bertha Daubendiek, Margaret discovered rare features in Oakland County and scouted out the property that later became the Morgan-Porritt Nature Sanctuary. She has spent nearly 20 years establishing and clearing trails, determining boundaries, and leading field trips as co-steward of Wilcox-Warnes Nature Sanctuary in Macomb County and steward of Brandon Township Nature Sanctuary in Oakland County. Margaret is an avid birder and a member of the Oakland Audubon Society.

Ken Ross

Ken has been an active field volunteer since the 1980s. He participates in almost every eastern Lower Peninsula volunteer day with MNA’s Katherine Hollins, and when he does miss one, it’s usually because he is at a volunteer day in the western Lower Peninsula working with MNA’s Matt Schultz. In addition to his work in the field, Ken has inspired efforts to obtain video footage of MNA historical figures and encourage carpooling. Ken has been an invaluable member of the volunteer team at MNA sanctuaries across the state for more than two decades.

Dave Wendling

Dave, along with 2010 Volunteer of the Year Tina Patterson,  was the driving force behind the MNA Odyssey celebrating MNA’s 60th anniversary. This capstone project features many of the sanctuaries that Dave has put hundreds of hours into protecting over the last decade. This volunteer-driven series of events has been very successful at introducing new people to MNA and encouraging members to visit MNA’s Showcase Sanctuaries. In addition to the Odyssey, Dave is an active volunteer and serves as the steward or co-steward at five sanctuaries.

Richard W. Holzman Award

The Richard W. Holzman Award was established in 2010 to recognize and thank volunteers who have selflessly served MNA over an extended period of time.

Debby Igleheart

Debby and her husband Addison joined MNA after reading about the campaign to save Estivant Pines in the early 1970s. She has served as President, multiple terms as a Director or Trustee, chair of the Oakland County Committee, and a member of the Membership, Communication and Education Committee. She currently serves on MNA’s Governance Committee and is an active member of the Detroit Audubon Society and The Village Women’s Club in Bloomfield Hills.

Karen Weingarden

Karen and her husband Marshall were personally recruited to join MNA by founder Bertha Daubendiek in the late 1970s. She joined the Board of Trustees in the 1980s and served as President for 12 years, carrying MNA through the transition from Bertha’s leadership through the hiring of an Executive Director. Karen continues to serve on the Board as a Trustee, chair of the Nominating and Board Advancement Committee and a member of the Executive Committee. Karen also regularly finds time to volunteer in the MNA office and participate in field trips at MNA sanctuaries.

During the ceremony, MNA also recognized the following Eagle Scouts for projects at MNA sanctuaries:

Luke Herdman

Luke and his crew established the trail at Sharon Zahrfeld Memorial Nature Sanctuary. They also stabilized and added steps to a footbridge at the sanctuary.

Jerico Markel

Jerico and his crew established a trail at Kernan Memorial Nature Sanctuary in time for the Odyssey Tour. They also repositioned stepping stones, making a seasonal creek much easier for visitors to cross.

Carson Smith

Carson and his crew rebuilt a dilapidated bridge at Trillium Trail Nature Sanctuary, making the sanctuary much more accessible for visitors.

Shadrick Wilson

Shad and his crew helped with the research, design and installation of new educational interpretive signs at Wilcox-Warnes Nature Sanctuary.

Thank you again to everyone who joined us on this very special evening. We hope you enjoyed the event as much as we did! To see photos from the evening, visit MNA’s Facebook page.

For information about MNA’s newest award: The Edward G. Voss Conservation Science Award, see our next blog post

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