MAKC Receives Statewide Honor

October 19

 I received a call January 10 from Marci Mowery, the president of The Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation. The foundation recognizes outstanding service, programs and places which remind us of the exemplary work being done in parks and forests, by both staff and volunteers, to improve Pennsylvania’s quality of life and to protect our natural assets for future generations. She informed me that the MAKC has received the statewide award for Volunteerism. This award is one of four in this category, which is given for recognition of achievements made by PPFF chapters, individuals or volunteer groups. Awardees are chosen from all nominations by a PPFF committee made up of PPFF board and non-board members. We were nominated by Aura Stauffer and Ed Callahan of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

These awards honor organizations or individuals that have made a lasting, positive impression on the park or forest that they serve and that have advanced the mission of the PA Parks and Forests Foundation and the DCNR. The Volunteerism Award winner attracts and nurtures volunteers and actively engages them in a wide range of projects, logged in significant volunteer hours in proportion to the size and location of the park or forest, or has developed an innovative volunteer program. Past recipients: Friends of Codorus State Park, Mountaineer Search and Rescue, Friends of Ohiopyle, Friends of Prince Gallitzin, Friends of Mt. Pisgah.

The awards will be presented at the foundation’s fifth annual banquet May 1, 2012 at Harrisburg Country Club. This will be a formal affair. Ticket information will be on the park’s site, http://www.paparksandforests.org/ sometime in February. MAKC and the 28 volunteers who helped with a project this past summer at the Forbes State Forest in Fayette County will be recognized. More than half of the volunteers were also members of Pittsburgh Grotto, as well as other local grottos, such as Loyalhanna and Ohio Cavers and Climbers. Reservations must be made for the dinner, which serves as a fund raiser for the foundation.

The foundation’s board includes: Chair Rob Wonderling, President & CEO, The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce; Vice Chairman William Forrey, Former Director, Bureau of State Parks (Retired); Secretary Brian J. Clark Buchanan, Ingersol & Rooney; Treasurer, Gary K. Smith, Retired, DCNR; Directors: Hank Barnette, Skadden Arps; Senator Michael Brubaker, Senate of Pennsylvania; Richard Carlson, Retired, DCNR; William C. Forrey, Arora & Associates, PC; Robert Griffith, Executive Director, PA Recreation & Parks Society; Representative Mike Hanna, Pennsylvania House of Representatives; Christopher Johnston, California University of Pennsylvania; Laura McIntosh, MD, Sports Medicine & Family Practice; William Mifflin, Executive Director, Philadelphia Hospitality; George E. Stark, Buchart Horn, Inc.; David Spigelmyer, Chesapeake; Ex-Officio, Cindy Adams Dunn, Acting Secretary, PA DCNR;

Honorary Members, Linda McKenna Boxx, Joseph Ibberson, John C. Oliver III.

List of volunteers who helped on the Barton Project: Ohio Cavers and Climbers, Bob Mangle, Christina Peek, Rick Fligor, Kay Kopp, Andrea Gillis, Ray Gillis, Kimberly Volshall; Pittsburgh and Loyalhanna Grottos: Dennis Melko, Chuck Hilpert, Tiny Manke, Nikki Manke, Jeff Dunn, Dave Ruth, Rhett Shuster, Brenda Sekeleti, Josh Cicchinelli, Aaron Schmid, Katie Schimd, Sandy Latimer Lisa Hall, Andrew Rentzel; Monongahela Grotto: John Tudek; MAKC: Mike Kern, Mike Schirato, Jeff Jahn (also Front Royal Grotto, Virginia), Tom Metzgar, Kim Metzgar; NSS President: Gordon Birkhimer (also from Virginia).

By Kim Metzgar