Meaningful, achievable resolutions for the new year are sometimes hard to come by. If the arrival of 2004 finds you still searching for a worthwhile project or commitment, you may find inspiration within these pages.
Hunters and farmers are contributing harvested deer to feed Marylandís hungry. Parents and civic leaders are learning how to educate young people about their environment. Everyday citizens are up to their knees (or higher) conducting statewide stream surveys critical to water quality determinations.
DNR volunteer opportunities of every type exist across the state, where Natural Resource Police Reserve Officers teach boating safety, volunteer rangers protect natural resources on public lands, concerned citizens conduct field studies to document biodiversity, and school groups plant native trees in their communities.
The truth is, the generous contributions of time and energy of Marylandís greatest resources - our people - play a key role in nearly every success we achieve. In fact, in 2002 more than 32,000 volunteers contributed 350,000 hours of work to the department - millions of dollars worth of knowledge, experience, talent and labor, and something more. For me and for my DNR colleagues, working side by side with people dedicated to giving back - to our state and our natural world - is a reward unto itself.
And if thereís any doubt that one person really can make a difference, I offer the story of Steve Takos. On December 5, family, friends and colleagues gathered at North Point State Park to celebrate Steveís 80th birthday, and to dedicate the new Takos Visitor Center named in his honor. What kind of volunteer gets a building named after him? One who has demonstrated his passion for and commitment to the park by logging an estimated 12,000 volunteer hours since 1987. During those years, Steve has initiated and driven key restoration projects and shared his remarkable wealth of historic knowledge with untold numbers of visitors.
It is often said that within the ordinary we find the extraordinary. Because of people like Steve, at no place is this more true than here at DNR.
On behalf of our outstanding employees and our remarkable volunteers, hereís wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, helpful 2004!
C. Ronald Franks
P.S. On December 6 Steve began logging his next 12,000 hours at North Point State Park.