College Park, MD (March 15, 2010)- In collaboration with ServiceNation, the Alliance for Community Trees (ACTrees) is pleased to announce this year’s national Volunteer of the Year, Bill Pardue, who volunteers with Trees Atlanta.
Bill is one of Trees Atlanta’s finest, most trusted, hardest-working volunteers. More than just an extra body on a volunteer project, Bill has been an active Trees Atlanta volunteer for over 11 years. His tenure has not been earned by volunteering once a year 11 times to create an 11 year history; Bill’s brand of volunteering is comprised of year-round helping, advising, creating solutions, giving money, helping us save money, building friendship, and taking the initiative to encourage high-quality environmental stewardship.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia with ACT Volunteer of the Year Bill Pardue
Bill Pardue impressed the judges with his clear passion for the cause and loyalty to helping build the organization so that it can spread its mission. His belief in the Trees Atlanta mission was palpable, with the sense that he is always game for planting just one more tree, even after 30 or 50 have just been planted during a project. You can’t put a price on willingness to pitch in and having a good attitude! For years, Bill has led tree planting and maintenance projects in conjunction with- and even in place of- Trees Atlanta staff. Last year he autonomously planned a tree planting project in his neighborhood from start to finish. Bill never says no to Trees Atlanta volunteer opportunities.
In 2008 he graduated from TreeKeepers, a seven-week Trees Atlanta volunteer training and certification program that applies skill, knowledge, appreciation, and pride to the stewardship of the urban forest. He is a member of the weekday pruners club, a group of volunteers who go out on their own during the week and prune NeighborWoods trees. Some other organizations that Bill has been associated with include: Sierra Club, Peavine Watershed Alliance, Atlanta BeltLine, Woodlands Gardens, and Native Display Garden at Georgia Perimeter College.
He impressed reviewers as grounded and savvy (ex. he is plugged into other key efforts like building Atlanta’s Beltline, which is the biggest new urban parks project in the country), and special note was taken that he is both a volunteer and a donor. He is committed to projects outside of Trees Atlanta; in fact, he just returned from participating in one of several service vacations in which he builds and restores trails in national parks with the Sierra Club.
But it’s not all work and no play for Bill. While his commitment was evident, the judges also got a sense of the fun and togetherness that he brings to tree planting (by organizing social get-togethers, smiling, and making other people happy). Bill makes sure everyone, staff and volunteers, has a good time at Trees Atlanta. He keeps moral up by organizing social events. He’s the captain of the Trees Atlanta softball team and a huge supporter of movie nights and volunteer parties.
Trees Atlanta clearly feels very fortunate that, while everyone who works there is committed to the organization 100%, they also get to see what that 100% commitment looks like from someone who doesn’t work there, someone who voluntarily has mades the organization part of his life for more than a decade.
Bill inspires other volunteers, brings fresh faces to the group, and serves as a willing mentor for new staff members. Trees Atlanta made clear that they love working with Bill. Staff member Robby Astrove said, “I’m proud to see his name on our donor wall each day as he supports us financially in addition to his social support (organizing social events) and sweat support.” Cheryl Kortemeier added, “And let’s not forget Bill’s regular participation in the Inman Park Parade! Whenever I think of Bill, I think of him poised and standing on top of his shovel with one leg bent at the knee- he is hilarious and awesome all around!”
About the Volunteer of the Year Award
The award highlights inspirational accounts of volunteers in action, and nominations are open to any individual (board member, community organizer, pro bono consultant, etc.) whose volunteer efforts have made a contribution to urban forestry by improving community trees and the neighborhoods which they are in. ACT seeks volunteers who model the ideals of stewardship, giving, professionalism, and leadership. One winner is awarded a trip to Washington, DC to meet with his/her Member of Congress.
First Runner-Up: Matt Czajkowski, Friends of the Urban Forest
Second Runner-Up: Otis Marechaux, Casey Trees
Gene Desantis, Parks and People Foundation
Crystal Adams, TreePeople
Andree Glenn, Vollintine Evergreen Neighbors for Trees
Bob Moody, Citizens for a Better South Florida
David Fainer, Goleta Valley Beautiful
Abigale Ehlers, City of Springfield
Brian Conaway, Keep It Moving
Carl Ross, Lexington Tree Board
Leslie Holsey, Keep It Moving
Loretta Tarpin, Citizens for a Better South Florida
Mariela Moreira, Citizens for a Better South Florida
Mathew McDonald, Citizens for a Better South Florida
Mollie Millen, City of Aurora
Ray Abreu, Citizens for a Better South Florida
Robert Shannon, Keep It Moving
Stan Johnson, Keep Sugar Land Beautiful
Volunteer of the Year Award
Lens on Atlanta
Instructor named semi-finalist for Volunteer of the Year