Photo by Dave Caliebe
To show our appreciation and recognize the incredible work of hundreds of volunteers and other friends of the Trail, the Alliance gives out a series of awards.
Enjoy a short video in honor of our dedicated volunteers and Trail enthusiasts.
Our Most Esteemed Volunteer Awards
Without the support of our public partners and the on-going dedication and effort by our volunteers, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail would be little more than a line on a map.
If you know someone who deserves to be recognized for what they do on behalf of the Ice Age Trail, then nominate them today!
Ray Zillmer Award
This award recognizes those whose work exemplifies the long-range, big-picture ideals that inspired the establishment of the Ice Age Trail and continue to inspire its development.
Henry S. Reuss Award
This award is given to individuals whose work through government channels at multiple levels has made a significant impact on the Ice Age Trail. It emphasizes the recipient’s ability to move influential parties to take an active role in our mission.
Public Partner Award
This award recognizes individuals whose work in the public sector has provided dedicated, ongoing service for the Ice Age Trail, above and beyond regular duties.
Friend of the Ice Age Trail Award
This award recognizes foundations, businesses and other organizations for their strong support of the Ice Age Trail. These recipients have enabled new capacity within our organization through financial contribution or partnered with us in another significant way.
Trail Steward of the Year
This award recognizes volunteers whose work in any phase of Trail management contributes in an extraordinary manner to the development of new trail, land improvements, or facilities such as:
- Trail planning
- Landowner and/or partner relations
- Trail layout and design
- Trail construction
- Trail maintenance
- Stewardship work
Crew Leader Award
This award recognizes crew leaders who meet and maintain “in Good Standing” requirements and demonstrate advanced leadership qualities, safe working practices, effectively lead volunteer crews on or off trail, maintain skill-based certifications, and serve in a Project Team role at one or more Mobile Skills Crew events within a 15-month time frame.
Crew Leader Emeritus Award
This award recognizes individuals who have provided a minimum 6 years of exemplary and consistently dedicated service as an IATA Crew Leader who choose to retire from actively leading crews.
Dedicated Service Awards
Spirit Stick Award
This award symbolizes long-term dedication and service to the Ice Age Trail. Recipients of this award exhibit a passion for the Trail that has become a way of life. They lead by example, inspire those around them, and carry out their service with a spirit of optimism, cooperation, and enthusiasm. We present this award to only one recipient each year.
Years of Service Award
We recognize individuals who have shown true dedication to the Ice Age Trail through their years of active volunteering. Volunteers receive this award at 10-, 20-, 30-, 40- and 50-(yes, 50!) year milestones.
"In The Mud" Award
This award is given to member volunteers who display a willingness to roll up their sleeves on behalf of the Ice Age Trail and a dedication to our organization’s mission. They consistently show up at workdays, dive into the dirty work, and make significant efforts to establish the Ice Age Trail. These volunteers epitomize the bedrock volunteer spirit responsible for building trail.
Excellence in Staff Service Award
From time to time, our Board of Directors may recognize staff members who have exhibited exceptional and long-term dedication to our mission. This award recognizes staff who have fostered positive working relationships between staff, volunteers, partners and communities and have served as an exemplary face of the Ice Age Trail.
National Park Service Volunteers in Parks Awards Program
All Alliance volunteers are eligible for the National Park Service Volunteers In Parks (VIP) awards program. Every volunteer in our database has a “career hours count” that began January 1, 2007. The Park Service awards volunteers as they log hours in increments of 100, 250, 500, 1,000 and beyond.
Each time a volunteer passes a 250-hour increment, he or she also receives a federal Interagency Volunteer Pass that waives entrance fees at all federally administered recreation sites (national parks, national forests, etc.) for one year.
Leadership Memorial Award
This award honors longtime Trail leaders who have passed away, recognizing the contributions of dedicated supporters. The award is given to a member of the recipient’s family at a Trail event or private gathering in collaboration with the family.
(The recipient’s name will be added to the list that appears in each issue of Mammoth Tales.)
Mammoth Society (Retired)
The Mammoth Society is considered the most prestigious level of membership to the Ice Age Trail Alliance. The award recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to our organization, for example, through the facilitation of significant land access, 30 years or more of active membership to the IATA, service as a board member for at least two full terms, or a substantial planned gift to the Alliance. This award grants lifetime membership.
Thousand-Miler Achievement Award
Each year, Ice Age Trail Enthusiasts are recognized for their remarkable feat: hiking the entire Ice Age National Scenic Trail! Sometimes, this 1,200-mile journey takes many years; hikers tackling it section-by-section. For others, the quest is completed in less than a month (Coree Woltering holds the Fastest Known Time record of 21 days). For all, the time spent on the Ice Age Trail is a wonderful adventure.
During the first 20 years of the Ice Age Trail, an average of 1 hiker a year completed the Trail to become a Thousand-Miler. In 2023, 76 were recognized, having achieved the Thousand-Miler status!
Douglas "Stickman" Sherman Scholarship Award
This $500 scholarship was originally funded by the Sherman family after Douglas’s passing and continues to be funded by other interested parties. The one-time award is presented annually to a high school or first year college student who has made significant contributions to the mission of the IATA and whose dedication to the Trail sets an example for other youth and shows exceptional promise.
- History of volunteering with the IATA;
- Love of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and a desire to create, support and protect the trail for future generations;
- Future goals including a degree in environmental, educational or related fields.
Payment is made upon submission of college transcript with a GPA of 2.5, or the equivalent, for the first semester of study.