BLM 2016 Making a Difference National Volunteer Awards
On June 2, 2016, the BLM presented its “Making a Difference” National Volunteer Awards for outstanding volunteer service in 2015 on BLM-managed lands. The annual “Making a Difference” Award recognizes exceptional volunteers who have contributed thousands of hours improving the public lands. These hard-working volunteers have helped BLM to improve fish habitat, keep campers safe, find homes for wild horses and burros, and provide environmental education and other visitor services.
Lesly Smith, Wyoming State Office, received the employee winner award. BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner Lesly Smith has served as a volunteer coordinator, both at the field and State Office levels, for 25 of her 27 years with the BLM. Her program expertise is such that she has been a volunteer administration course instructor, online training developer, and a 5-year member of the BLM’s Volunteer Program Adjunct Team, a cadre of field employees that provides technical assistance and field-level insights to headquarters program staff. Lesly’s attention to detail has been exemplary. Each year, she enters volunteer agreement information into a centralized system and reports on Wyoming-wide program accomplishments in terms of both data and narratives. Lesly has also overseen volunteer-related action items required by the BLM’s National Strategy for Education, Interpretation, and Youth Engagement implementation plan. She also plays an important role in obtaining funding for BLM-Wyoming projects that involve volunteers, and oversees partnerships with organizations that conduct service projects on BLM lands in the state. In her off time, Lesly is an active volunteer herself for Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources and recruits volunteers to participate in annual youth events such as the Kids Xtreme Fire & Ice Festival and Cheyenne Frontier Days. Over the course of her BLM career, she has also volunteered as a Girl Scout leader, lifeguard, and Habitat for Humanity homebuilder. Lesly will be officially retiring from Federal service this year, and her daily presence will be sorely missed. But the good news is that she’s not quite through yet: she’s already made it known that she’ll continue teaching volunteer administration courses as—you guessed it—a BLM volunteer.