2013 Alberta Parks Volunteer Awards


Parks Volunteer

(L-R) Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation; Allan Sept; Shirley Sept; Gary Martin; Bev Pickell; Doug Pickell; Judy Huntley; and James Tweedie.

Audio links:

  • Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation talks about the importance of volunteers in our communities.
  • Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation expresses his appreciation of Alberta Parks’ volunteers.
  • Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation says there are a lot of volunteers involved with Alberta Parks.
  • Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation says there’s lot’s of ways to get involved with Alberta Parks.

Partnership Appreciation Award – The Venturers Society – Elkwater

The Venturers

(L-R) Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation and Gary Martin, Team Leader with The Venturers Society – Elkwater.

The Venturers Society Program, founded in 1986 by Bill Nike, has since established several teams in Alberta’s provincial parks. It provides an opportunity for people with developmental disabilities to experience the wonders of nature and to provide meaningful participation in a park setting. In 2004, a Venturers group started in Cypress Hills Provincial Park. It was so successful that a second group commenced in the fall of 2005. Since then, the two groups have become integral to park operations, by assembling picnic tables, installing signs, fencing, litter and garbage collection, removing deadfall and hazardous trees and operating the bottle recycling program.

  • Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation congratulates The Venturers Society – Elkwater.

Host Hospitality Award – Doug and Bev Pickell

Doug and Bev Pickell

(L-R) Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation, Bev Pickell and Doug Pickell.

For the past eight summer seasons, campers at Firerock Campground in Cypress Hills Provincial Park have been welcomed and served by Doug and Bev Pickell. Visitors from Medicine Hat and throughout Southeast Alberta appreciate having people in the campground who can readily assist with public safety situations, lost and found pets, information requests and tent set up. Their genuine commitment to help visitors and staff leaves a lasting positive impression on all who have the pleasure of coming into contact with them.

  • Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation congratulates Doug and Bev Pickell.

Host Hospitality Award – Allan and Shirley Sept

Allan and Shirley Sept

(L-R) Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation, Shirley Sept and Allan Sept.

Since 2009, Alan and Shirley Sept have devoted their summers to volunteering as the Campground Hosts at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park/Áísínai’pi National Historic Site. During their time at the park, the Septs have become fully integrated into all program areas in park service delivery including: assisting Information Officers with comfort camping check-ins; supporting Conservation Officers with snake relocation; and helping maintenance with after-hours troubleshooting and repairs. They work tirelessly to ensure all visitors have the remarkable experience they have come to expect from this world class park.

  • Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation congratulates Allan and Shirley Sept.

Outstanding Individual Steward Award – Guy and Nonie Swinnerton

Guy and Nonie joined the Steward Program in 1997 as Stewards at Beaverhill Natural Area. In 2001, they became Stewards at Hastings Lake Islands Natural Area, near Tofield. For the last 16 years, they have been visiting, \monitoring and reporting, in detail, what occurs in the natural area. Guy and Nonie visit the site regularly in their canoes and tour around the lake and islands to observe the site including the wildlife: double-crested cormorants, American white pelicans, sandpipers, terns, gulls, Canada geese, various ducks, and great blue herons. Both Guy and Nonie have an appreciation for the practical dimensions of nature conservation and a longtime interest in parks and protected areas.

  • Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation congratulates Guy and Nonie Swinnerton.

Outstanding Individual Steward Award – Doug Kielau

Doug Kielau joined the Steward Program in 1988 as a Steward for Threepoint Creek Natural Area. This natural area is located at the confluence to the Sheep River and Threepoint Creek, approximately 20 kilometres west of Okotoks. For the past 25 years, Doug has regularly visited the site and treasured the opportunity to escape the city and observe the wildlife and the seasonal changes that occur. Doug recognizes the importance of protecting these sites for future generations.

  • Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation congratulates Doug Kielau.

Outstanding Group Steward Award – Castle Crown Wilderness Coalition

Castle Crown Wilderness Coalition

(L-R) Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation and Castle Crown Wilderness Coalition members: James Tweedie, Conservation Director; Judy Huntley; and Wendy Ryan, Stewardship and Outreach Coordinator.

The Castle Crown Wilderness Coalition envisions "a world in which wilderness survives so that wildlands and wildlife may thrive, and future generations can know their natural beauty and diversity." Based in Pincher Creek, this group encourages education and appreciation throughout the Castle Special Management Area. Starting out as Stewards for Big Sagebrush Candidate Natural Area in 1994 and West Castle Ecological Reserve in 2005, they recently added projects at Beauvais Lake Provincial Park and Beaver Mines Provincial Recreation to their ongoing workload. That work includes invasive species management, amphibian monitoring, clean ups and tours, in parks and throughout the area, helping connect people to the land and leaving the lasting legacy they strive for.

  • Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation congratulates the Castle Crown Wilderness Coalition.
Last reviewed/revised: September 16, 2013