Exceptional Volunteers Honored

Volunteer pictures with awards or helping in parks

Stark Parks celebrated volunteer accomplishments in 2023 at the annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner at the Exploration Gateway at Sippo Lake Park earlier this month. Through September, over 14,000 volunteer hours have been logged so far this year.  These difference makers were celebrated at the annual Volunteer Recognition dinner.

Kari and Ed Priddis of North Canton were awarded the Community Science Award. The couple has been volunteering with bee surveys for two years and were cited for their enthusiasm and dedication to surveying bees at Quail Hollow Park. They were among the first volunteers in this program and have trained other volunteers to assist in the effort.

Longtime volunteers, Ray and Sharon Morgenstern, of Malvern have volunteered since 2007 at the Wildlife Conservation Center among other areas over the years. Because of their positivity and consistency for many years they were awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Nominators praised their ability to help in so many areas of the wildlife rehabilitation process and getting animals back to the wild.

Mike Figg of Jackson Twp. began volunteering in 2018 and at the Wildlife Conservation Center in 2021. Because of his care and help with the birds of prey, he was recognized with the Wildlife Conservation Center Volunteer of the Year Award.  His nomination stated, “His building skills for perches inside the enclosures are out of this world and he is willing to help with the dirtiest jobs.”

Gordon Food Service (GFS) on Whipple Ave. was presented with a Community Partnership Award for their contributions of gently expired produce to the Wildlife Conservation Center to feed animals. The regular donation reduces waste and saves considerable budget.

Rose Lengyel of Bolivar has been a dedicated volunteer since 2009 serving as a Trailblazer with many hours and miles spent helping provide enjoyable experiences to visitors.  She was awarded the Outstanding Trailblazer Award for her many years of service and dedication.

Andy Haag, Plain Township resident, was awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award. Haag has been a volunteer since 2019 and is the current Friends of Stark Parks Treasurer. Haag is known as “Someone who truly supports our mission and is willing to speak up for what he believes is right.”

Adam Krajchir of Canton received the Rising Star Award. He has been volunteering since 2020 and was applauded for his reliability and bringing solutions and suggestions from a trail user perspective.

A framed photo of a Cedar Waxwing by 2023 Winter Photo Contest Winner, Gary Uhler, was presented to each award winner.