National Park Service 
2019 Volunteer of the Year Awards

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A message from NPS:

Thursday, November 7th, National Park Service and Partner staff honored Parkway volunteers at the annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon and Awards. It was a great time honoring the volunteers who give so much to the National Park Service and Blue Ridge Parkway. This year  1,380 volunteers contributed 48,544 hours in service to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Volunteers-In-Parks (VIPs) give freely of their time and talents to help further the mission of the National Park Service. VIPs are an integral part of providing the high level of visitor service that park visitors have come to expect. This would not be possible without volunteer supervisors, for the time and effort park staff give training and coordinating with volunteers. We appreciate all your hard work as well!

Read the Chapter News Briefs below to learn about award recipients this year...many are FRIENDS you'll recognize.

News from the Parkway
Safety Firstsightings

Now that most Parkway visitor facilities are closed and fewer travelers are on the Parkway, there is even more reason to look for a partner when volunteering on trails, overlooks, and other BRP locations.  During the warmer seasons, there is less chance of spending time on a trail, for example, without seeing others.  So even though we encourage working with others at all times, in busier months the likelihood is low of having an accident without help passing at some point.  But during the inactive months, the risk increases.  So having multiple volunteers working together could make a world of difference if something went wrong.

If your volunteer work takes you off trails and other visited areas, risks increase exponentially.  This photo shows a volunteer climbing out of a gorge where he and another FRIENDS volunteer had just retrieved a wildlife camera.  The steep climb continued as shown for approximately 500 feet of elevation change, making travel extremely difficult.  A slip could leave one in a predicament if volunteering alone.

Continue with your highly appreciated work, but do it safely!
Chapter News Briefschapterbriefs
Humpback Rocks Chapter

The chapter's work on the northern end of the Parkway did not go unnoticed. FRIENDS volunteers won:

Volunteer of the Year- Latane Long
 As the first and outgoing chapter chair of the Humpback Rocks Chapter of Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Latane has had a tremendous impact on the Parkway's northernmost area. Her ability to encourage engagement from others has been instrumental in growing the chapter. The commitment she exhibits to organizing volunteer groups to address Parkway needs has not gone unnoticed. This year Latane's commitment was demonstrated in a new way as she worked to ensure the continuation of the Humpback Rocks Chapter by recruiting and training a new chapter chair to continue her legacy of service. Thank you, Latane!

Volunteer Group of the Year: Nelson County Master Gardeners
The Nelson County Master Gardeners volunteers have transformed the Humpback Rocks Farm into a centerpiece of the visitor experience. The gardeners work hard to ensure that the garden flourishes and contains crops representative of a turn of the century Appalachian mountain farmstead. The group also continually monitors the garden to manage the issues with the plants to ensure that the maximum number of visitors can enjoy the garden, learn the stories of the crops, and interact with the garden throughout the growing season. Thank you and congratulations, Nelson County Master Gardeners!


Peaks of Otter Chapter

Enduring Service Award- Linda and Bill Taylor
FRIENDS members, Linda and Bill Taylor  have served as full-time volunteers from April through October for the past 8 years, operating the Johnson Farm near Peaks of Otter (milepost 86). The Taylors care for the Johnson Farm as if it were their own homeplace. The Taylors make it possible for visitors, local organized groups, and school children to learn about and enjoy the farmstead, providing information and storytelling, as well as completing daily maintenance of the area. Thank you, Linda and Bill!


Rocky Knob Chapter

The painting crew from the Rocky Knob Chapter, led by Libby Wilcox, were at it again! It is amazing what fresh paint and elbow grease can do! See for yourself in these before and after pictures:


Fisher Peak Chapter

Once again, the Chapter hosted a Notre Dame Alternative Break group of students for 5 full days of Parkway work, community service, and social activities. Chapter charter member (a one the FRIENDS founders), Mary Guynn, enjoys meeting the students and showing them her authentic log cabin guest house.



The chapter retrieved and redeployed a wildlife camera. They get good pictures!

FRIEND Aubrey Arrington  assisted Blue Ridge Music Center (BRMC) interpretive rangers with 4 youth music programs and 1 youth hike with elementary and high school students from surrounding schools during their intercession breaks.



Asheville Chapter
On several occasions Christ School worked with the Asheville Chapter on park projects, earning them...

Youth Volunteer Group of the Year- Christ School
The Christ School, based in Asheville, NC believes in the value of integrating service into the lives of students at an early age. In coordination with Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway- Asheville Chapter, students have completed multiple projects in the Asheville area of the Parkway, instilling a love for service in the students and helping the park address some of its critical deferred maintenance needs. A big thank you to these students and the school for their support of the Blue Ridge Parkway.


Chapter Co-Chair Nancy Midgette sent an update with pictures:

Here are three photos from November 5, when five folks (Steve, Bill, Ross, and Skip, and Ed) sprang into action to remove a fallen tree from the mow zone.  This was near the interchange with Highway 74, a heavily traveled area in the Asheville corridor.  I am proud of how fast a crew can respond when one of us sees such a problem.


Introducing! Balsam Chapter
Have you heard? There is a new chapter organizing on the south end of the Parkway! For the first time, FRIENDS chapters will cover the entire 469 miles of the Parkway. The Balsam Chapter will be led by Tanya Poole. Below is a picture of a packed house of interested volunteers at the initial informational meeting held earlier in November in Waynesville, NC. 


Additional NPS Volunteer of the Year Award Winners
Volunteer Program of the Year- Craggy Rovers Program
In fall of 2018, a small but mighty group of volunteers was given the ask of providing critical resource preservation messages at the Craggy Pinnacle trail in the hopes of protecting the critically imperiled habitat found in this busy place. The Craggy Rovers were born! This past spring the Craggy Rovers grew from 8 hearty souls to over 25, providing 8 hours of coverage 7 days a week at Craggy Pinnacle. This year Craggy Rovers provided visitor information to over 12,000 people at Craggy Pinnacle, helping to serve the visitor and spread an important message of personal responsibility and preservation to visitors of this special place. Thank you, Craggy Rovers!

Youth Volunteer of the Year- Virginia Ward
Over the past two years, Virginia Ward had contributed 133 hours to the Blue Ridge Parkway in rare plant conservation. Rare plant conservation involves park biologists scrambling off trail to access remote locations where the park visitor never ventures. Detailed information is meticulously recorded for each plant. The results provide great insights about the health of a population and inform current and future actions by park staff to conserve these rare and unique plants. As a volunteer Virginia recorded data, collected data, and carried field equipment to remote sites- with great enthusiasm and a delightful attitude. Thank you, Virginia, and congratulations!


Volunteers by the Numbersvolnumbers

 Volunteers with 50 + Hours Logged in 2019
We congratulate the following volunteers :

Bill Abbuehl
Harlan Goodreau
Charles Rose
Ross Akin
 James Harrington
Christine Sashegyi
Aubrey Arrington
Reginald Hassler
Joel Shulman
Lorene Becker
Bob Johnson Cary Simms
Billie Bryant 
James Keighton McFerrin Smith
Gene Byrd Paul Kitchen
Joyce Speas
Skip Capone
Pete Lascell
Curtis Stiff
Julie Carpenter
David Lennox 
Walt Thrower
Ken Carpenter
Latane Long
Tom Tolle
William Coleman Rusty Mansel
Kathy Van Duzer
Drew Daniels
Nancy Midgette
Jane Wallace
Mike Davis
Debbie Morris Carol Whiteside
Thomas Dillon
Dave & Phyllis Moulton
Libby Wilcox
Sharon Estep
Scott Noe
 Mark Zeinert
Steve Estep
Tanya Poole

Marilyn Evans David Poteet
Your name next?
Sandy Gallagher
Joe Robinson

Keep reporting your hours!
A new count begins
Volunteer Hours by Group
October 2019 - September 2020 (NPS Fiscal Year)
Have you been out on the Parkway working? 
Do you have hours to report?  
  • Email them to:
  • Mail them to: PO Box 20986, Roanoke, VA 24018
  • Or click the button below to send them through the Google form
NOTE: If you are part of a chapter, check with your chapter chair about how to enter your hours. They may be sending them in for you. 
Volunteer Incentive Program
FRIENDS has started a volunteer incentive program to recognize the outstanding work our volunteers do for the love of the Parkway. Read more about it in the volunteer manual. Click the button below:

Help Wanted jobopening

Volunteers Needed: Adopters for Cemeteries, Overlooks and Trails

"Volunteers don't necessarily have the time; they just have the heart." 
--Elizabeth Andrew

Upcoming Events

For a full listing of Parkway events visit the  Parkway Events Calendar or the
Are you a member of FRIENDS?
As a FRIENDS  volunteer , you give your  TIME  for the love of the park! 

But have you ever wondered how the vistas are restored or the demonstration gardens are funded? 

Our  members support the work of NPS staff and FRIENDS volunteers. Every year we create a list of funding requests that we hope to fulfill. Gifts from our annual members make that happen. 

For $40 a year you can become a member of FRIENDS and help the park and other volunteers!

Volunteer Resources
Click the links below to quickly access resources:

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