Wildlife refuge volunteer receives nationwide recognition

Rod Colvin has volunteered at Lassen Nationwide Park and Dying Valley Nationwide Park since retiring in 2016, however his present and longest volunteer cease “received my coronary heart.”

Colvin was named this 12 months’s volunteer of the 12 months by the Nationwide Wildlife Refuge Affiliation for his work at Ash Meadows Nationwide Wildlife Refuge in Amargosa Valley.

“I’m humbled by Rod’s selflessness, his information and skills, his quiet can-do perspective, and the instance he units for all of us,” mentioned Mike Bower, refuge supervisor at Ash Meadows in an announcement. “I don’t consider any of us can actually repay our debt of gratitude to Rod for every part he has carried out for Ash Meadows NWR, however the Volunteer of the 12 months award appears the one actually becoming recognition.”

Colvin acquired his award on Wednesday on the Mayflower Resort in Washington, D.C.

“It’s actually gratifying that individuals acknowledge your exhausting work and the quantity of hours that you simply put in and I’m grateful,” Colvin mentioned. “It’s sort of out of my factor to go to D.C. to an occasion. I’m sort of a out within the desert man. That’s the place my consolation zone is, not within the workplace, not in Washington D.C. however I’m grateful to obtain the popularity.”

The 71-year-old labored within the timber trade in Oregon earlier than transferring to Redding, California, and beginning a profession within the constructing, building and upkeep of lodges.

After volunteering at Dying Valley he needed to remain within the desert and have become a volunteer at Ash Meadows. Colvin mentioned volunteers usually work 90-day increments however he needed to stay round.

“When my time was up I discovered that I appreciated it a lot right here I requested if I may keep they usually mentioned ‘definitely’ and so I’ve been right here for 4 and a half years thus far,” Colvin mentioned.

Colvin has a house in Redding however for nearly 5 years has lived in his motor residence on the refuge whereas being a volunteer.

“It’s the best factor to reside in such a particular place,” Colvin mentioned in an e mail. “A bit heat within the summers although.”

Colvin works within the upkeep division. He helps hold the roads open and runs many of the refuge’s heavy gear. Whereas the refuge seemed for a brand new everlasting head of the upkeep division, Colvin stuffed in and took cost.

“It retains me busy. It retains me out of bother,” Colvin mentioned with a chuckle.

Colvin was married for 39 years till his spouse died in 2008. He has one daughter, three grandchildren and 7 nice grandchildren. An eighth grandchild is predicted to reach in late December, he mentioned.

He mentioned his hours per day differ, however he volunteers seven days every week as much as 50 or 60 hours every week. Colvin estimated he’s nearing 10,000 hours of service at Ash Meadows and volunteered greater than 1,000 hours at Dying Valley Nationwide Park.

“I’ve by no means been afraid of working,” Colvin mentioned. “It’s simply gratifying to present one thing again. It’s simply enjoyable.”

Colvin mentioned there are volunteer alternatives for folks in each state with the Bureau of Land Administration, U.S. Forest Service, Nationwide Park Service or Nationwide Wildlife Refuge.

“Get off the sofa and are available and volunteer. They’ve each stage of volunteering,” Colvin mentioned. “In the event you simply wish to do knowledge entry you are able to do that. If you wish to be exterior you might be exterior. There’s alternatives for everybody of all ages.”

Colvin described himself as an novice photographer and mentioned that volunteering at Ash Meadows permits him to pursue that zeal.

“I get to see issues that you may solely see right here, no place else on the planet,” Colvin mentioned. “There’s endemic crops and animals and bugs, there’s like 26 of them that you may’t see wherever else however right here and it affords me the chance to {photograph} them.”

He mentioned he pictures every part from ash timber within the fall to wild bighorn sheep and lizards.

Colvin is a U.S. Military veteran who served for 3 years and spent 1968 in Vietnam in the course of the Tet Offensive.

“I’ve earned the best to return out right here and provides away my time,” Colvin mentioned.

Robert Peloquin, of Las Vegas, acquired the award for worker of the 12 months on the similar ceremony for his work on the Desert Nationwide Wildlife Refuge Advanced.

Colvin received again from Washington D.C. on Friday morning and referred to as it an expertise, “I received’t quickly overlook.”

“I received to fulfill lots of nice individuals who deeply care about conservation and preservation for future generations,” he mentioned in an e mail.

Contact David Wilson at dwilson@reviewjournal.com. Observe @davidwilson_RJ on Twitter.

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