Public lands stewardship is powered by the community. People from all walks of life give their time to maintain trails, install signs, and otherwise maintain Nevada’s wild spaces and trails. Such was the case on Saturday, February 25th when we hosted the community during their annual Wahoo volunteer appreciation day. Through rain and wind that has been a hallmark of this wild winter season about 25 volunteers and supporters met under the giant group picnic canopy at the Red Springs to celebrate the stewardship work accomplished this past year with sandwiches and hot soup plus a flurry of high-fives and wahoo’s.
Thank you to everyone that volunteered to keep southern Nevada’s wilderness wild in 2022!!
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
A few supporters were singled out for recognition with some fun special awards:
Volunteer of the Year 2022
Katja Hermes is a dedicated Southern Nevada volunteer who has joined us on nearly every stewardship project over the past few years. From Christmas Tree Pass, to the Mormon Mountains and Mt Charleston, Katja is often accompanied by her husband Chris and daughter Anika wherever Friends of Nevada Wilderness needs volunteers! Katja’s graffiti removal skills were greatly appreciated on our Mount Charleston license plate grant funded effort to eradicate vandalism along popular trails. Katja became a volunteer leader and expert, helping staff get new volunteers up to speed and making them feel welcome. Thank you, Katja Hermes our Volunteer of the Year!
Going Above & Beyond 2022
Terry & Lolly Jones
Terry and Lolly Jones are receiving our Above and Beyond Award to recognize how they helped us in a big and special way last year. They took a full week to not just volunteer with us at Alternative Spring Break, but to support us and the other volunteers at Alternative Spring Break by being our camp and kitchen hosts. They got up early every morning to make coffee and prepare breakfast, spent their days chopping veggies and washing dishes, and then spent their evenings in the kitchen preparing dinner each night. These tasks aren't the most glamorous, but are incredibly appreciated and mean so much to us. So, thank you to Terry and Lolly!
Corporate/Business Partner of the Year 2022
Friends of Nevada Wilderness has been the recipient of NV Energy Foundation awards for over a decade, and they have recently expanded their support to both our Southern Nevada and Northern Nevada stewardship programs. In 2022, NV Energy absolutely blew our expectations out of the water through an exceedingly generous donation that has helped fund a variety of on-the-ground volunteer stewardship projects, as well as our 2022 Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Southern Nevada and the 2022 Wilderness Wingding in Reno. Thank you, NV Energy, for your incredible support!
Nonprofit Partner of the Year 2022
Red Rock Audubon
Red Rock Audubon Society received our Nonprofit Partner of the year award for their dedication to education, community outreach, and stewardship and wildlife protection in Nevada. Throughout 2022, we partnered with them to host successful springs monitoring and birding volunteer events, one of their members was featured in our Wild Speaker Series, and they have been a joyful and accommodating partner for all of our programs and outreach efforts. We are honored to work in community with partners like Red Rock Audubon who are committed to facilitating the public’s connection to our wild places.
Agency Partner of the Year 2022
Mandy Royal (BLM Sloan Canyon)
Ranger Mandy Royal out of the Bureau of Land Management’s Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area is and has been one of FNW’s best agency partners. Mandy has facilitated several stewardship projects with Friends of Nevada Wilderness that have furthered our goals of getting new volunteers out on our Public Lands. Not only does Ranger Royal support our stewardship program, she always joins us on the trail, pick or shovel in hand, with our volunteers and fellow Rangers Brian White and Greg Feathers. Sloan Canyon’s proximity to Henderson and a large residential population makes it ideal for introducing conservation and stewardship to new audiences and Mandy’s support for Friends’ stewardship activities have helped us recruit many first-time volunteers from the area. For these reasons we thank Mandy Royal, Sloan Canyon Ranger and Agency Partner of the Year!
Blue Helmet Awards
Thirty hours of service or more in 2022
Valerie Carle Tayna Carrasquillo Maygan Cuevas Emma Dendler Alex Fauteux Lisa Harrison Anika Hermes Katja Hermes Shiori Ikegami Terry Jones* Lolly Jones Kelly Klettner Ron LaPointe* Cyrus Mika Tri Hieu Nguyen Sierra Roberts Marcus Swanson Dan Wright* Larry Dwyer* Michelle Capati Reina Gonzalez Jean Kelleher Mariaelana Cruz
*multiple blue helmet awardee
The power of volunteering
As Friends' new Community and Development Manager, this was my first Wahoo event, and afterward as I was helping the team pack up I realized I had come full circle. Although I’m one of the newer staff of the Friends of Nevada Wilderness team, my outdoor stewardship experience with them started back in 2014. I was looking for ways to get involved in community service, and since I spent a lot of time hiking local trails I leaned toward public lands conservation. I discovered Friends of Nevada Wilderness, and days later I was in the Spring Mountains with a volunteer crew creating water bars and helping install a sign along the Trail Canyon trail. I helped with a few projects in the months following. For the first time in my life I wasn’t just using trails and extracting from them, I was making a positive impact. I felt a great sense of empowerment. My actions helped ensure future visitors could have a great experience while making as small a dent on the land as possible. I made a few new friends that season, too. Most of all, I felt connected. Connected to the land, connected to my community. Finally attending Wahoo all these years later, I felt that same camaraderie again with a new generation of people eager to contribute to the conservation of our local wilderness spaces.
Have you volunteered for a local trail crew with ours or any conservation organization? If so I’d love to read about your own path to getting involved. Send it to [email protected].
If you haven’t had an opportunity to volunteer outdoors, what are you waiting for? Check out our calendar of events to see when trail crews are heading out this season.