To show our appreciation and recognize the incredible work of hundreds of volunteers and other friends of the Trail, we give out a series of awards. The following awards recognize the dedication, inspiration and longevity that many volunteers bring to the Ice Age Trail.

Make a Nomination

Visit our Award Nominations page to nominate a volunteer or other Trail supporter for an award.

Partnership Award Categories:

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.


  • 2001: David Obey

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; maintain an ongoing public relationship as a Friend of the Trail; bring about significant change for the Ice Age Trail; and shift the political climate to benefit the Trail.


  • 2004: Tammy Baldwin
  • 2001: Kevin Shibilski

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.


  • 2018: Tim Vetter
  • 2011: Terry Jensen
  • 2010: Brigit Brown
  • 2008: Tom Presny
  • 2008: Tom Gilbert
  • 2004: John Wald
  • 1997: Janet Beach Hanson

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 given significant monetary contribution to the Alliance through either a single donation or over many years; enabled new capacity within our organization through financial contribution or partnered with us in another significant way.


Trailbuilding Award Categories:

“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.

Download a list of past “In the Mud” award recipients.

Crew Leader Award

This Award recognizes any person who meets “Crew Leader in Good Standing” requirements. Crew leaders who meet and maintain “in Good Standing” requirements must 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.


  • 2017:
    Bob Broman
    Gary Klatt
    Lyle Lidholm
    Rachel Roberts
    John Shank
    Butch Siegel
    Keith Veldhuizen
    Barbara Wollmer

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


  • 2018: Ed Spoon
  • 2017: Chet Anderson

Dedicated Service Award Categories:

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-, and 40- (yes, 40!) year milestones.

Download a list of past Years of Service award recipients.

Spirit Stick Award

The Spirit Stick Award symbolizes long-term dedication and service to the Ice Age Trail. Nominees for 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.

The Spirit Stick, featuring the face of a wood spirit and the engraved names of all Spirit Stick winners

The Spirit Stick


  • 2018: Dolly McNulty
  • 2017: Pat Witkowski
  • 2016: Dean Paynter
  • 2015: Russ Helwig
  • 2014: Bill Welch
  • 2013: Sharon Dziengel
  • 2012: Craig Sanford
  • 2011: Luke Kloberdanz
  • 2010: Gary Klatt
  • 2009: Bess & Bernie Alberg
  • 2008: Dean Dversdall
  • 2007: David Phillips
  • 2006: Ken Neitzke
  • 2005: Joe Jopek
  • 2004: Nancy Lazzaroni
  • 2002: Butch Siegel
  • 2001: Bill “Kangaroo” Knickrehm
  • 2000: Gary Werner

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.


  • 2016: Jo Ellarson
  • 2016: Kevin Thusius
  • 2012: Tim Malzhan

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.


  • Bess & Bernie Alberg
  • Jerry Goth
  • Lee Swanson
  • Anonymous

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.)


  • Dick Cates
  • Joyce Erdman
  • Ody J. Fish
  • Warren Knowles
  • Henry Reuss
  • Sarah Sykes
  • Marion “Barney” Viste
  • J.J. “Doc” Werner
  • John Zillmer
  • Raymond Zillmer

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.

Scholarship Awards:

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.


  • 2017: Emily Amundson
  • 2016: Charlie Booher
  • 2015: Derek Sopha