Bedford, IN – (April 7, 2017) The Hoosier National Forest competes annually with 14 other Forests in the Eastern Region of the US Forest Service for awards for volunteers and partners in service. In 2016, the Hoosier won awards in two categories.
The Hoosier National Forest (NF) won an award in 2016 for Citizen Stewardship and Partnerships for the work volunteers did on the Buffalo Trace Project. The 30-member volunteer group of the Buffalo Trace Working Group was recognized for their work on researching, locating, and providing public interpretation and education for the Buffalo Trace Trail from the Falls of the Ohio to Vincennes, IN. Their work spanned two years and culminated with events and products celebrating the Indiana bicentennial.
A website, story map, YouTube video of the reenactment of the 1806 survey of the Buffalo Trace, and 70 educational boxes for local schools along the trace were developed. When a celebration was held for the bicentennial at the end of 2016, an estimated 888 volunteer hours had been put into the project, but the work has continued. The niche that the early buffalo trace made in Indiana history has been forever changed, and these dedicated volunteers continue to tell the story in inspiring new ways. To view the story map and buffalo trace website go to the Hoosier NF homepage at www.fs.usda.gov/hoosier and scroll down to the Buffalo Trace Story Map.
Forest Supervisor Mike Chaveas says, “The Hoosier National Forest is honored to be a part of this outstanding effort and to have these dedicated volunteers recognized with a regional award. Together, this group captured the interest of Hoosiers and has reminded us all how important and relevant the story still is today.”
The second Regional Award received by Hoosier volunteers was the 2016 Monroe Lake Cleanup. This partnership project received an award in the Cultural Diversity category due to the broad spectrum of people who work together to clean up Monroe Lake. In 2016 there were 97 volunteers, working a collective 392 hours to pick up trash in the lake to improve our watershed and drinking water. The partnership between Indiana DNR, Monroe County Storm water, Lake Monroe Marina, J.L. Waters and Company Adventure Outfitters, Hoosier Outdoor Writers and several committed volunteers continue to make this an outstanding event.
“The Hoosier is pleased to have been a part of this successful event for the last four years, watch it grow over time, and pull in people with such diverse backgrounds,” said Chaveas. “We are humbled that people give of their time to improve our environment. And now we’ve heard this event has won a National Volunteer Award in the same category. I couldn’t be more proud of our Hoosier volunteers!”