The Bill Thomas Outstanding Park Service Award was established to pay tribute to lifelong parks volunteer Bill Thomas and to honor and encourage those residents who also demonstrate a passionate dedication and support for our dynamic programs, natural resources and public open spaces.
2012 Award Winners
The 2012 Bill Thomas award winners were Steve Young (individual) and Friends of Gulf Branch Nature Center (group). The 2012 winners were presented with their awards at the April 23 County Board meeting at 6:30pm. A reception followed the award presentation in the Cherry Conference Room on the first floor of the Courthouse Plaza building.
Steve Young has had a long-standing commitment to protecting Arlington’s natural resources – and for working to remove non-native plant species’ from our parks. A well-known figure for invasive plant removal at Long Branch Park, Mr. Young has also been involved in a variety of other projects, including regular park and stream clean-ups, leading bird walks and surveys, and blogging about parks and his volunteer experiences.
Friends of Gulf Branch Nature Center (FoGBNC) is an extremely dedicated group of citizens who provide invaluable support to the center. In 2009, when the center was slated to close due to budget cuts, the group raised $10,000 to continue operations. In addition to the monetary assistance the FoGBNC provides, volunteers from the group also participate in and host events to raise funds for improvements such as the aviary for the center’s barred owl that was constructed in 2011.
Nominations are judged on the basis of the nominee's direct involvement with an activity or contribution.
Eligibility for the Award
The Bill Thomas Park Service Award is open to individual and groups. Excluded from nomination for the award are currently serving members of the Arlington County Board, and Arlington Park and Recreation Commission, and Arlington County Staff.
Widespread participation in the award process is encouraged. Anyone may submit a nomination for The Bill Thomas Park Service Award.
Awards are made annually on a case-by-case basis. There is no requirement to select an award winner within a given year. Ordinarily, there is not more than one award winner each year. Winners are selected based on submissions. If a submission is not selected, it is reviewed the following year with new nominations.
The Bill Thomas Park Service Volunteer Award Committee selects the award recipient. The committee is approved by members of the Park and Recreation Commission and composed of a representative from the Park and Recreation Commission, Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources, Friends of Arlington Parks, and Arlington Civic Federation as well as an at-large committee member appointee by the Park and Recreation Commission Chair.
William "Bill" Thomas served the Arlington County parks community for more than two decades. He became a member of Friends of Arlington Parks when the organization was established more than twenty years ago and was appointed to the Park and Recreation Commission in 1995. He had a personal love of birding, and the acquisition of parkland was one of his priorities. He served on the Countywide Dog Exercise Area Work Group and was instrumental in the institution of the first fenced-in dog exercise area in Arlington. He strongly supported tot lots and the upgrading of playground structures to address important safety needs.
Bill Thomas was a tireless worker on the behalf of Arlington's parks and citizens. His dedication over the years sets an inspiring example for others. "The Bill Thomas Park Service Volunteer Award" was established both to pay tribute to Bill Thomas and to honor and encourage similar dedication among other residents and organizations.
Nominations for The Bill Thomas Park Service Award must be delivered to Susan Kalish: Bill Thomas Park Service Award, Department of Parks and Recreation, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 414, Arlington, VA 22201, or emailed, or faxed to 703-228-3328 by 5:00pm, February 14, 2014.