IATA Awarded Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service

The National Park Service honors volunteers’ hard work, drawing attention to their vast skills and contributions.

Saturday, April 27, 2017

Cross Plains, Wisconsin – The Ice Age Trail Alliance won three of six categories for the George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service. This recognition from the National Park Service reflects the commitment of our members and dedication of our volunteers and staff.

“We are extremely grateful for the dedication and impact of every volunteer,” said Acting National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds. “Each volunteer performs different tasks but shares the same goal – to make a difference every day. Whether a volunteer builds a bridge on a trail or a bridge to the future during a children’s program, each selflessly gives of his or her time and talent to enrich the national park experience for others.”

The Hartzog Awards are named for former National Park Service Director George B. Hartzog, Jr. and his wife Helen. Hartzog served as the head of the National Park Service from 1964 to 1972. In 1970, he established the Volunteers-In-Parks Program with 300 volunteers. Since then, more than four and a half million people have donated more than one and a half billion hours of service in national parks.

National Recognition:

Winning national recognition for the Hartzog Outstanding Volunteer Service Group Award was the IATA Mobile Skills Crew Program.  What garnered attention and sets this program apart is its passion, enthusiasm, and friendly sense of community. Since 2002, these attributes brought 13,408 volunteers on 146 project events and generated a total of 265,351 volunteer hours towards making the Ice Age National Scenic Trail a reality. Lauded was its “formalized methodology of approaching trail construction and maintenance.” In tandem, systematic and professional-level trainings have enabled volunteers to fully participate in Trail stewardship. Also noted was the behind-the-scenes efforts to connect diverse communities to the Trail, leading to the successful, on-going establishment of new partnerships. (You may read the glowing nomination letter here.)

The recipients will receive their awards during a joint National Park Service/National Park Foundation ceremony in Washington, DC on August 1.

Regional Recognition:

At the Midwest regional level, two Hartzog Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards were awarded as follows:

Hartzog Enduring Service Award: Dean Dversdall, Indianhead Chapter Coordinator, won recognition across the Midwest Region for being “one of the Trail’s finest stewards by every measure.”  His passion and commitment is evident in the 7,177 volunteer hours since 2007 he’s contributed to the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Dean selflessly advances the work of building, maintaining, and protecting the Trail at all levels: board leadership, facilitating land acquisition, Mobile Skills Crew leader, spear-heading hikes, and providing taxi service for thru-hikers.

Hartzog Outstanding Park Volunteer Program: Designed to get the next generation intimately connected to the Trail through an immersion experience, the Saunters Program was recognized for its “growth spurt.” In six short years, Saunters boasted a 366% increase in the number of school districts involved, and a 614% increase in students served. Extraordinary advances include introducing diverse populations – rural youth in northern Wisconsin to urban kids of Milwaukee – to the well-being found on the Trail.


The Ice Age Trail Alliance is a nonprofit volunteer- and member-based organization established in 1958 that works to create, support and protect the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. One of only 11 National Scenic Trails, the Ice Age Trail is a thousand-mile footpath that highlights Wisconsin’s world-renowned Ice Age heritage and natural resources. Visit www.iceagetrail.org to learn more.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov to learn more.