2022 Bill Thomas Award Announced
Published on November 14, 2023
Beth Kiser, a dedicated volunteer in Arlington Regional Master Naturalists (ARMN) and co-founder of the ARMN Park Stewards Program, has been named the winner of the 2022 Bill Thomas Award for Outstanding Park Service. The award, presented by Arlington County Parks and Recreation, recognizes individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the protection, preservation, and restoration of natural areas Arlington County.
“Thanks to Beth's tireless efforts, the Park Stewards Program has experienced tremendous growth and success, engaging volunteers to take up the mantle of preserving our county's natural resources," Christian Dorsey, Chair of the Arlington County Board said. "The profound impact of this program is evident in our public spaces, where native flora and fauna are flourishing in the places they steward, resulting in a more sustainable and healthy environment for us all."
Kiser was instrumental in the creation of the ARMN Park Stewards Program in 2018 and its subsequent expansion. The program trains and supports skilled volunteers to lead restoration of natural areas in parks in Arlington and other local jurisdictions. Beth has coordinated closely with other experienced volunteer leaders and Natural Resources staff, facilitated recruitment and mentoring of new Park Stewards, and fostered collaboration and communication among Park Stewards and parks staff. With her leadership, the Park Stewards Program has grown to include more than 50 natural areas, each supported by one or more Park Stewards, and a network of enthusiastic public volunteers.
Kiser has also served as a volunteer leader in Woodlawn Park since 2017, where she has led various efforts to preserve and improve the park’s natural resources. She has organized monthly volunteer events to remove invasive species, plant native species, and enhance the park’s habitat and biodiversity. She has also hosted fun and educational events for the community, such as firefly night and bat night, to help residents appreciate and enjoy the park’s wildlife.
About the Bill Thomas Award
The Bill Thomas Outstanding Park Service Volunteer Award was established to pay tribute to lifelong parks volunteer Bill Thomas, and to honor and encourage those residents who demonstrate a passionate dedication and support for our dynamic programs, natural resources, and public open spaces. Visit the County website for a complete list of past winners.