Volunteers Recognized for their Efforts

Volunteer of the Year 2017

Bev Middleton (center) receives Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge’s "Volunteer of the Year Award" from Volunteer Coordinator Michele Whitbeck (left) and Refuge Manager Marcia Pradines (right). 


The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recently recognized volunteers of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in celebration of the outstanding contributions they have made to Blackwater NWR during 2017.  An awards ceremony, sponsored by the Friends of Blackwater, was held at the Cambridge Elks Lodge during National Volunteer Week.  Volunteers assist in all aspects of the refuge, from staffing the Visitor Center seven days a week, maintaining the butterfly garden, and assisting with environmental education and outreach events, to carpentry projects, nest box monitoring, facility and trail maintenance, bird surveys, boundary posting, and more.  During 2017, 198 volunteers contributed 9,747 hours of their time to the refuge.  

Every year, Blackwater NWR honors and distinguishes a volunteer for their exemplary performance throughout the year.  This year, Beverly Middleton of East New Market received the 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award for her dedicated service to the refuge.  Ms. Middleton staffs the front desk in the Visitor Center every week, assists with outreach events throughout the year, and photographs refuge habitats and wildlife for use on various refuge social media sites and other publications.  Ms. Middleton has donated over 1,600 hours of volunteer service to the refuge since 2014. 

Special recognition was also given to volunteers reaching key milestones in their service to Blackwater NWR.  Award pins and certificates were presented to the following volunteers for reaching milestones in the number of years they have volunteered at Blackwater NWR:  Leslie Baker, Sue Fischer, Andy Schneider, Heather Scrimshaw and Jed Scrimshaw for five years of service, Lisa Mayo and Chuck Mock for 15 years of service, and Helen Davies and Paul Smail for 20 years of service. 

 Award pins and certificates were also presented to volunteers reaching milestones in the total number of accumulated hours they have contributed to the refuge since they began.  Those recognized include:  Linda Chandlee, Ellie Ludvigsen, Janet Mackey, Nick Roetzel, Peter Smithson and George Wilson (50 hours), Lisa Carvallo, Carrie Harper, Ben Hunt, Ron Ketter, Gary Middleton, Katherine Slaughter, and Erica Weick (100 hours), Cathy Beise, Karl McGovern, Ellen Mousin, Maureen Rice, Stan Trice and Elaine Wilson (250 hours), and June Middleton, Jane Sebring, Carol Walker, Edward Walker, and Vicki Zobel (500 hours).  Those volunteers accumulating 1,000 hours or more are listed on the refuge’s “Volunteer Hall of Fame” plaque.  They include:  Lynda Hicken, Mary Horney and Ron Horney (1000 hours), Beverly Middleton (1500 hours), Edward Hessler and Mary Lynch (2000 hours), Dennis Ewell (3500 hours), and Cindy Bech (6500 hours).   Each volunteer reaching these set milestones received a special recognition gift for their volunteer efforts. 

Volunteers play a critical role in helping Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge fulfill its mission.  Please contact Michele Whitbeck at 410-221-8157 or Michele_Whitbeck@fws.gov to learn how you can volunteer.