FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Fort Collins resident April Gray has been named 2016 “Volunteer of the Year” by the Colorado State Forest Service for dedication and exceptional service. The award is bestowed to only one CSFS volunteer statewide each year, for contributing toward the agency’s strategic priorities through hours worked, quality of service, initiative and professionalism.
Gray, a retired family medicine physician who also gives her time volunteering to excavate artifacts in the West, has been volunteering for the CSFS since 2014, primarily helping with forest management efforts. She was officially recognized by the CSFS at the agency’s annual meeting and awards ceremony this week in Colorado Springs.
“I like to joke that it’s always good to have a retired physician on our projects, since we work with chainsaws and other machinery,” said Nancy Dadisman, volunteer coordinator for the CSFS, who adds that her volunteer program has been injury-free all six of the years she has been involved. “April is a reliable and hard-working volunteer who has given her all on the 17 projects she has given her time to.”
Dadisman says Gray’s efforts in helping with invasive species mitigation and zeal in the removal of non-native Russian-olive trees along the Poudre River and other areas of Larimer County make her a standout among CSFS volunteers. She also has put in many hours to help with trail building and restoration work on National Forest lands, planting willows and cottonwoods for flood recovery along the Big Thompson River, and collecting seed and plant material for the CSFS Nursery’s future restoration plantings.
When asked why she gives so much of her time to the CSFS, Gray has simply said, “I enjoy doing something that I feel is going to make a difference in nature and the environment.”
To learn more about the CSFS Volunteer Program, go to the CSFS Volunteer Page.