Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge recognizes volunteers

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Special to Dorchester Banner/Blackwater Refuge Volunteers Carol Clarke, Maggie Briggs, Kristin Benjamin, Stan Haddox (representing son Trevor Haddox) and Cathy Cooper received recognition for 5 years of service.

CAMBRIDGE — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently recognized volunteers of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) at its annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. The Friends of Blackwater sponsored the awards dinner at the Elks Lodge #1272 in Cambridge in celebration of the outstanding contributions made by volunteers to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge during 2015. Volunteers assist in all aspects of the refuge, from staffing the Visitor Center seven days a week, assisting with special events, and leading environmental education programs, to maintaining the butterfly garden, monitoring water quality, and more.

During 2015, 169 volunteers donated 9,800 hours of their time to the refuge, which is equivalent to nearly five full time staff.

Every year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service honors and distinguishes a volunteer for their exemplary performance throughout the year. This year, Edward Hessler of East New Market, received the 2015 Volunteer of the Year Award for his dedicated service to Blackwater NWR. Mr. Hessler has volunteered at the refuge since 2009, staffing the Visitor Center weekly, and filling in frequently whenever needed. Mr. Hessler also assists with the refuge’s annual events, including the Eagle Festival and Youth Fishing Fun Day. He has donated over 1,400 hours to the refuge, giving 320 hours in 2015 alone. His dependability and kind nature has been a wonderful asset to the refuge.

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: Kristin Benjamin, Maggie Briggs, Carol Clarke, Trevor Haddox and Janet Shields for 5 years of service; Rick Abend, Mary Lynch, Charlotte Hehn and Wolf Hehn for 10 years of service; Cynthia MacDonald, Duncan MacDonald and Arnella Trent for 15 years of service, Dennis Ewell for 20 years of service; and Zeeger de Wilde for 25 years of service.

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 Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge volunteer Edward Hessler received the 2015 Volunteer of the Year Award at the refuge’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner.

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: Cathy Beise, James Long and Elaine Wilson (50 hours); Cindy Burns, John Cougnet, Justin Golden, Suzanne Hurtt, Betsy McCaul, Art Smith and Vicki Zobel (100 hours); Pat Frailer, Lynda Hicken, Janet Kerr, John Lindinger, Lois McKenzie, Jane Sebring, Carol Walker and Ed Walker (250 hours); Beverly Middleton, Kristina Miller, Heather Scrimshaw and Arnella Trent (500 hours); and Jed Scrimshaw (750 hours).

Those volunteers accumulating 1,000 hours or more are listed on the Volunteer Hall of Fame plaque. They include: Beth Burgess and Donna Harms (1,000 hours); Tom Johnson (1,500 hours); Janet Shields (2,000 hours); Marty O’Connor (5,000 hours); Wolf Hehn (6,500 hours); and Charlotte Hehn (7,000 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.

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