Hancock Park District Names Volunteer Of The Year

The Hancock Park District has named its 2019 volunteer of the year.

Details are in the following news release from the park district.

Shawn Arnold has been named the 2019 Charlie Meadows Award winner by the Hancock Park District (HPD). Each year since 2012, the award has been presented to VIPs (Volunteer in Parks) who most exhibit characteristics of leadership, enthusiasm for the projects and services they perform and for their willingness to promote volunteerism with others. Arnold will accept the award on Tuesday, February 11, at 3:30 p.m. during the monthly meeting of the HPD Board of Park Commissioners at Oakwoods Nature Preserves Richard S. Doc Phillips Discovery Center.

Arnold is receiving the award because of his involvement in removing invasive woody plant species at Oakwoods Nature Preserve. In the fall, the Findlay resident worked alongside HPD Natural Resource Manager Chad Carroll to remove nearly two acres of Japanese bush honeysuckle and Chinese privet that were displacing native plants, trees and wildflowers from the park.

“While two acres doesnt seem that large, it is actually enormous,” said Carroll. “A majority of plants have to either be lopped or hand-sawed and then moved to an area where they can either be chipped or utilized in other aspects, like for creating brush piles or fish habitat.” Carroll added that Arnold is continuing to volunteer with this project this year.

In addition, Arnolds prowess as a photographer has helped with documentation of bird, reptile, mammal and plant species throughout the park system. Two of the Findlay residents photographs were selected to appear in the 2020 Monthly Calendar that highlights winners of the 24th Annual HPD Photography Contest. His photographs are also often featured on HPDs social media platforms to encourage others to get out and enjoy native flora and fauna.

The purpose of the VIP Program is to offer opportunities for county and area residents to give personal time and offer their special talents to supplement the HPD staff in providing quality programs, maintaining parks for public use and preserving natural areas. The Charlie Meadows Award is named for the park districts first volunteer coordinator. In 1982, Meadows was instrumental in launching the Helping Hands program to get people involved in the parks.