Wildlife refuge volunteer receives nationwide recognition

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

Colvin was named this yr’s volunteer of the yr 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 data and skills, his quiet can-do angle, and the instance he units for all of us,” mentioned Mike Bower, refuge supervisor at Ash Meadows in an announcement. “I don’t imagine any of us can actually repay our debt of gratitude to Rod for all the pieces he has performed 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 Lodge in Washington, D.C.

“It’s actually gratifying that individuals acknowledge your laborious work and the quantity of hours that you just put in and I’m grateful,” Colvin mentioned. “It’s form of out of my component to go to D.C. to an occasion. I’m form 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 business in Oregon earlier than shifting to Redding, California, and beginning a profession within the constructing, development and upkeep of accommodations.

After volunteering at Loss of life Valley he needed to remain within the desert and have become a volunteer at Ash Meadows. Colvin mentioned volunteers sometimes 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 might keep and so they mentioned ‘actually’ and so I’ve been right here for 4 and a half years to date,” 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 electronic mail. “A bit of heat within the summers although.”

Colvin works within the upkeep division. He helps hold the roads open and runs a lot of the refuge’s heavy tools. Whereas the refuge seemed for a brand new everlasting head of the upkeep division, Colvin crammed 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 range, however he volunteers seven days per week as much as 50 or 60 hours per week. Colvin estimated he’s nearing 10,000 hours of service at Ash Meadows and volunteered greater than 1,000 hours at Loss of life 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. “For those who simply need to do information entry you are able to do that. If you wish to be exterior you will be exterior. There’s alternatives for everybody of all ages.”

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

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

He mentioned he images all the pieces from ash bushes 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 throughout the Tet Offensive.

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

Robert Peloquin, of Las Vegas, acquired the award for worker of the yr on the identical ceremony for his work on the Desert Nationwide Wildlife Refuge Complicated.

Colvin acquired again from Washington D.C. on Friday morning and known as it an expertise, “I gained’t quickly neglect.”

“I acquired to fulfill a number of nice individuals who deeply care about conservation and preservation for future generations,” he mentioned in an electronic mail.

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

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