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Indiana State Parks hands out annual awards
Start Date: 4/2/2018
Event Description:
The DNR Division of State Parks recently honored volunteers and employees for their commitment to conservation in 2017.

Indiana State Parks director Dan Bortner presented the annual awards at the Division Leadership Conference.

Volunteer of the Year Awards went to:

—Jerry Byard for volunteering more than 250 hours in 2017 as a photographer at Mounds and other state parks. Byard’s images help promote parks, often through social media and online sharing.

—James and Daphna Bickerstaff for volunteering more than 1,300 combined hours in 2017 at Mississinewa Lake, performing electrical work, repairs, mowing and office duties.

—Jim and Sara Terry, campground hosts and volunteers at Spring Mill State Park, for recruiting more volunteers and helping coordinate the Vintage Camper Rally, Christmas in July, Bicycle Parade and the “Let’s Camp America” weekend.

Partnership Awards went to:

—Indiana Kicking Bear, and group coordinator Mike Miller, and Shakamak State Park for hosting an archery camp for at-risk kids for the past 10 years.

—Randy Strebig and Pokagon State Park for sponsoring the annual Sea Plane Splash-In. It brings in 3,000 to 4,000 visitors and two dozen planes. Strebig also inspired the Pokagon Toboggan Speed Challenge and helped bring a triathlon to the park.

Bortner also presented awards to DNR employees.

Steve Lemen earned the Tulip Tree Award, the division’s highest annual honor for outstanding service. Lemen, Indiana State Parks south region manager, often volunteers for tough assignments, even if they are unlikely to earn notoriety or praise. A 40-year veteran of State Parks, Lemen is known for his deep understanding of preventive maintenance and construction, dependability and willingness to help.

State Parks planner Mike List, maintenance supervisor Jim Portteus, and the division’s maintenance crew earned an Innovation & Leadership Award for designing and building a new swimming beach and boat launch at Ouabache State Park on Kunkel Lake.

Hardy Lake earned a Property Achievement Award for significant efficiency improvements in energy and water usage.

The O’Bannon Woods State Park staff earned a Cultural Resources Award for maintaining and interpreting an old farmstead and working haypress from 1850.

Indiana Dunes State Park staff earned a Natural Resources Award for general excellence in management. Examples included monitoring migrating birds and reducing invasive species.

Tina Colburn, assistant manager at Fort Harrison Inn & Golf Resort, earned the Inn Employee of the Year Award for outstanding customer service, exceeding guest expectations, and a positive and encouraging attitude with staff.

A Special Recognition Award went to staff at Brown County State Park and the Abe Martin Lodge. Their accomplishments included responding to a severe spring storm that downed trees, blocking roads and affecting nearly every trail; and hosting the wedding for the son of Vice President Mike Pence.

A Director’s Award went to the DNR Division Historic Preservation & Archaeology (DHPA). The Director’s Award is presented to an organization, agency or division that has provided significant assistance to Indiana State Parks. DHPA helps protect archaeological resources and historic structures inside state parks.

For more information, call Ginger Murphy, deputy director, DNR Division of State Parks, at 317-232-4143, or the associated property.

To view all DNR news releases, please see
Contact Information:
Name: Ginger Murphy
Phone: 317-232-4143
State calendar entry type:
Press Release
State calendar entry category:
State calendar classification:
  • Residents
  • Agency Name:
  • Natural Resources, Department of

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