The Fairfax County Park Authority will honor six individuals and groups with 2020 Elly Doyle Park Service Special Recognition Awards at a virtual volunteer celebration in November.
The Elly Doyle Park Service Special Recognition Awards given to individuals or groups for outstanding volunteer service will go to:
- Birds and Bees Engineers (BBE)/Paul Slebodnik – At no cost to the county, the BBE team of volunteers has invested hundreds of hours over the past six years to install and maintain homes for bluebirds and purple martins at county parks. Led by Paul Slebodnik, this group has monitored the bluebird houses at Twin Lakes Golf Course, Burke Lake Park, Oak Marr RECenter and the Upper Occoquan Service Authority. It has worked to educate and install purple martin colonies throughout Fairfax County, including Twin Lakes. And last year, Slebodnik and his wife Alexis established a partnership with Twin Lakes management to start a honeybee yard on the course. The team has bolstered the bird population and helped the survival of important pollinators.
- Jane Gamble -- Jane Gamble is an amateur photographer who provides professional-quality photos to the Park Authority’s Public Information Office and Resource Management Division for use in the agency’s communications. Her specialty is park wildlife, and her photos frequently appear in the Park Authority’s social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), the ResOURces newsletter, and other agency publications to promote stewardship and highlight the wealth of natural resources in the county. Her photographs have significantly increased traffic and engagement on these social media platforms.
- Sara Holtz – Sara Holtz is the Site Leader at Difficult Run Stream Valley Park in Oakton for the Invasive Management Area (IMA) Program. She works to remove nonnative invasive plants from the park, leads workdays for volunteer groups, and acts as an advisor for Cub Scouts and Eagle Scouts, educating young volunteers on the importance of habitat restoration, inspiring neighbors to help remove invasives and assisting fellow site leaders with their IMA sites.
- Jean Ann Lenney -- Jean Ann Lenney has been a front desk volunteer at Riverbend Park’s Visitor Center for two years, working regularly, even through the holidays. She manages the sales at the gift shop, answers phone calls, provides visitors with guidance and support, and often takes on additional tasks while on duty. She provides excellent customer service to visitors and outstanding support to park staff.
- Elarbi Taouil – Elarbi Taouil has worked with the Cub Run Park Volunteer Team since 2017, participating in periodic cleanup events and using his gift for photography to inspire residents to care about the park. He has volunteered to lead photography expeditions into the park to teach camera and photography basics, and the Park Foundation has used his photographs in social media posts, annual reports and fundraising appeals that attracted monetary support.
- Tony Lee Williams – Tony Lee Williams has been a volunteer martial arts instructor at Mount Vernon RECenter for more than eight years, providing safe, comfortable, and effective learning experiences for his students. He brings a positive attitude, flexibility and dedication to his role, whether teaching a class for one or 10 students. He arrives early to ready his classroom space and is willing to stay late to talk with his students, developing a warm rapport.
The Elly Doyle Park Service Awards were established by the Park Authority in 1988 in recognition of former Park Authority Board Chairman and member Ellamae Doyle’s years of outstanding service toward the preservation of parkland and establishment of natural and recreational areas for the benefit of Fairfax County residents. The purpose of the award is to publicly recognize a volunteer or group of volunteers for outstanding volunteer service contributions to Fairfax County parks.