The DNR’s Division of State Parks recently honored volunteers, partners and employees for their commitment to conserve, manage and interpret resources while creating memorable experiences for everyone.
Awards were announced at the division’s annual leadership conference, held at Pokagon State Park this year.
Outstanding Volunteer Awards recognize the work of individuals who share their time and expertise with Indiana State Park properties. Two were presented for 2019 service:
• Tony Fleming, Albion, was recognized for his natural resources conservation efforts at Chain O’Lakes State Park, including completion of an inventory of resources and development for the park’s comprehensive natural resource plan and for natural resource training for other volunteers.
• Barbara Filtri, Spencer, has volunteered at several state park properties for more than 25 years. She is an active member of the Friends of McCormick’s Creek, and during 2019 she also shared her expertise with the Friends of Lieber State Recreation Area. Her husband Giuseppe was also recognized for his support of his wife’s efforts, as well as his own volunteer service.
Partnership Awards recognize cooperative efforts by a property and a community organization that support projects and facilities to serve property guests. Three were presented for 2019:
• Trine University and Pokagon State Park staff were recognized for cooperative work on an ice cutting machine that creates a uniform thickness on the toboggan track ice and ensures a smoother ride for guests. They also designed an improved toboggan launching system that includes a sled design for summer toboggan use and the design of a trail grading machine.
• The Friends of Lincoln State Park and Lincoln State Park staff have collaborated on many projects, including an accessible fishing pier and much needed benches along trails and overlooks.
• The Mississinewa Battlefield Society and Mississinewa Lake were recognized for their more than 30-year partnership in the development and annual presentation of Mississinewa 1812, which commemorates the Battle of Mississinewa. The inaugural event drew around 500 visitors and today, the three-day experience attracts more than 30,000 guests, making it the largest War of 1812 living history event in the country.
Brown County State Park and Abe Martin Lodge staff were honored with the Property Achievement Award for their tireless efforts in restoring water service to the park and inn after the unprecedented rains and resulting flooding of Ogle Lake in the summer of 2019.
Awards were also presented to several State Parks individual employees for outstanding work.
• Randy Brehmer, Noblesville, was recognized as the Inn Field Employee of the Year for 2019 for his management of The Fort Golf Resort, engagement with students in STEM visits to the golf course, and coordination of the complete interior remodel of the Officers’ Homes at Fort Harrison Inn.
• Lu Huff, Madison, was honored as the Inn Employee of the Year. In 2019, the Inns Central Reservation System answered over 90,000 calls that resulted in 54,000 room nights booked across the seven lodges. Huff and her team also provided assistance in fulfilling orders for the Indiana State Parks online store.
• Doug Botka, South Bend, received the Intermittent Employee of the Year for his service at Indiana Dunes State Park. He has removed invasive plants, identified rare species, and provided training for volunteers and other park staff in resource management techniques.
• Indiana Dunes State Park’s Marie Laudeman was recognized as the Interpretive Naturalist of the Year for her innovative programming and community engagement, work with volunteers and enthusiasm for introducing guests to the diversity of Indiana Dunes’ natural and historic resources.
• Tammy Sawvel, Angola, was recognized as the Office Manager of the Year for her efforts in recruiting staff and coordinating special events, as well as her expertise in administrative processes and participation in division-wide initiatives such as Service State Park Style.
• Stanley Baelz, Corydon, was honored as the Assistant Property Manager of the Year for his leadership at O’Bannon Woods State Park and Wyandotte Caves and his support of special projects at other locations. His EMT and Indiana Master Naturalist certifications have enhanced O’Bannon’s ability to serve guests and the community.
• Jim Roach, Bloomington, was named Property Manager of the Year for his leadership in managing extensive flooding at Monroe Lake, hosting the International Bowhunting Organization, offering assistance to other properties as needed and mentoring new property managers.
• Mike List, Trafalgar, was recognized with the Tulip Tree Award, the highest honor the division bestows on an individual. His legacy as a landscape planner includes campgrounds, trails, playgrounds, and picnic areas. In 2019 he coordinated the restoration of the trail through Rocky Hollow at Turkey Run State Park and the design of trails for the newly opening Bradt Farm at Versailles State Park, in addition to a variety of other projects and administrative duties.
• DNR director Cameron Clark was presented with a Director’s Award for his visionary leadership and providing the tools needed for successful growth and furtherance of the mission of Indiana State Parks.