Volunteers shine at Sierra National Forest 2011 Volunteer Awards Ceremony

Release Date: Apr 16, 2012  

Contact(s): Rebecca A. Garcia


Stage Coach 2011The Sierra National Forest recognized the dedication, commitment and accomplishments of more than 400 individuals and groups that provided services valued at more than $770,000 to the forest in 2011 during an early April annual volunteer awards ceremony held in Clovis, Calif..  
“Our volunteers contributed over 35,000 hours of their personal time.  Their contributions are essential to our mission of ensuring forest health,” said Scott G. Armentrout, Forest Supervisor for the Sierra National Forest. “Their great ideas, hard work and inspiration toward ‘caring for the land and serving people’ helps to ensure our success.” 
Volunteers give their time to the forest for a variety of reasons.  John A. Lorenzana received the President's Call to Service Award.  Lorenzana gave 40 years of service to the Forest Service before retiring in 1995.  After a one-week transition, he returned to his desk as a volunteer in range management on the forest and continues to volunteer on a near-daily basis.
Lorenzana recommends the role of public volunteer with the Forest Service, especially to individuals like himself who can serve as mentors to their younger counterparts in a service-related field.  "¡Hasta qué me muera! Until I die!" said Lorenzana. “I want to stay active. Volunteering keeps me young.  I have a lot of range management knowledge to share that may help others serve.”
The Stewards of the Sierra National Forest organization made a great showing at the event receiving the National Trails Volunteer Group of the Year Award.  Narvell Conner and Mike Wubbels, two members of the group, also received forest and regional level awards.
Wubbels commented on the amount of work that the Stewards have achieved in the group’s three years of existence and expressed gratitude for the award recognition. “I think there are a lot more people who are willing to volunteer if you give them an opportunity to do it,” said Wubbels. That’s really what I did. I put the vehicle in place for them to do it.”
The following individuals and groups were recognized for their extraordinary contributions in 2011:
Sierra National Forest awards:
- Jimmie Smothers, Volunteer of the Year;
- The San Joaquin River Trail Council “Trail Spirits,” Volunteer Group of the Year;
Sierra National Forest and Pacific Southwest Region level awards:
- Narvell Conner, Trail Individual Volunteer of the Year
- Mike Ketscher, Forest Service Coordinator of Volunteers;
- Denise Robinson, Volunteer Campground Host of the Year;
-Mike Wubbles, Volunteer Coordinator of Volunteers;
- The “Stewards of the Sierra National Forest,” Trails Volunteer Group of the Year.  The Stewards were also recognized for receiving the national level Forest Service award for this category. 
“To say we appreciate the service of our volunteers is truly an understatement.  The services you provide to the forest and the visiting public are simply amazing and, we could not accomplish our mission without your hard work and unbelievable dedication,” said Dave Martin, District Ranger, Bass Lake Ranger District. “Many, many, many thanks… you are all the best!!!” 

Photo Caption:

Mike Wubbels, a member of The Stewards of the Sierra National Forest volunteer group, works with a forest trailshot crewmember on a bridge replacement for an off-highway vehicle trail.  Their work involved installing water bars to prevent sedimentation and protect water quality.  Funding from a grant awarded to the group by Yamaha OHV Access Initiative and a California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation grant supported the project.