Refuge For all All Seasons Bosque NWR
Nomination Letter ||| Nomination & ||| Criteria For The Nomination

Friends of the Bosque Home
Contents of Nomination Packet
Nomination & Criteria
Summary of Volunteer Service
A Few Letters




NOMINATION For John Bertrand as National Volunteer of the Year
National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) &
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)



1. Nomination Letter

National Wildlife Refuge Association
1901 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 407
Washington, DC 20006

Dear National Wildlife Refuge Association
and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Selection Committee,

I am honored to nominate John Bertrand for the Volunteer of the Year Award for his remarkable accomplishments and his unparalleled dedication. His work has benefited each Refuge to which he has given his heart, soul and tremendous capabilities.

His accomplishments perfectly fit and exceed every element in each evaluation category, and I hope this nomination packet will show you some of what he has contributed to the Refuges he loves. There are so many people who wholeheartedly believe he is the epitome if an ideal, "dream" volunteer, one who successfully accomplishes what the Refuge needs and one who keeps the goals of the Refuge first and foremost.
This nomination speaks for and carries the hopes and wishes of many Refuge Managers- three in all, many Friend's groups, hundreds of Volunteers, people in city governments, newspaper people and others that John will be honored as the the National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer of the year.

Thank you for your consideration of one of the finest, most dedicated volunteers I have ever met, and who one who selflessly gives to benefit the Refuges and those goals for which the Refuges stand. To merely state the tens of thousands of hours he has given to his beloved Refuges would not reveal the benefits those Refuges have derived from his help. To list the publications and the presentations and the outreach work he has done would not tell you exactly how much this has benefited the Refuges and the birds and wildlife who rely on them for survival.  To hear from countless Friends' groups or mayors of cities or Chambers of Commerce would not tell you John's most special capability. He does not just talk or write, he accomplishes, and he always sees the bigger picture. He is always mindful of the role the Refuges play in preserving our wildlife heritage, and is always working to help to ensure each Refuge's future.

In New Mexico, John has been one of the main driving forces in making the Bosque del Apache NWR a beloved place in the hearts of the public, in making it a place to protect and value, and the Bosque is only one of the Refuges to have benefited from John's talents and capabilities.

One recent example at the Bosque del Apache NWR exemplifies his special talent of successfully accomplishing a goal for the Refuge, and that is the recent acquisition of Chupadera Peak and 140 acres in memory of a beloved Refuge Manager who died an untimely death and who had wanted to achieve the Refuge's long standing goal of adding the Peak to the Refuge. John didn't just talk about it, he was a major drive behind it, and employed many creative and successful techniques to realize this objective in less than a year. People from throughout the entire state of New Mexico became involved and donated to the Fund. More than what was needed was raised, and the Peak and adjacent 140 acres will be donated to the Refuge by the Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR.

How do you inspire people to care for and love their National Wildlife Refuges and to respect and love the birds and wildlife and the habitat which they rely on?
One of the answers is to encourage more devoted and talented people like John Bertrand to help, and awards like this serve to motivate others to volunteer by recognizing those who do contribute, those who dedicate their lives to show people valuable our Refuges are. Thank you for having these Awards and for your time in evaluating the wonderful people who volunteer.

We in New Mexico are grateful that John Bertrand dedicated his time and talents to the Bosque del Apache NWR, and I know that Alaska Maritime NWR, Selawik NWR, Sevilleta NWR and the Friends groups to which he has given efforts and passion feel the same. I hope that by reading the letters and documents which are part of this nomination (and which were selected from many others so that they are specific to the selection criteria,) you will find that John Bertrand is deserving of this special honor in recognition of his dedication, devotion and achievements.

Respectfully Submitted,
Sandy Seth


Former PR Chair and current webmaster for
Friends of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge


Back to the Top


2. NOMINATION

1. Commitment to conservation of our natural resources and refuge management that demonstrates:
a. Innovation.
b. Personal Dedication.
c. Effective use of job talents.


John Bertrand's deep commitment to our National Wildlife Refuge System and belief in the conservation of natural resources which the NWR supports is a driving force in all his many hours of volunteer work. He is dedicated to conveying the value of the refuges to the public, the importance of habitat and the birds and wildlife who depend on it for survival and is always mindful of the needs and goals of the Refuges. He is a convincing and avid spokesperson for the Refuges, and does so through an innovative variety of ways - from traditional means such as the newsletters and magazines he  writes for, edits, manages and distributes along with stories and interviews  for newspapers and television statewide to his creation of eye-catching signs and displays.
His innate talents for writing and speaking clearly and convincingly along with his organizational, diplomatic and promotional abilities, honed from a strong newspaper background make him an ideal person to  encourage and inform the public, increasing involvement in our Refuges and conservation of our natural resources.

John Bertrand's ability to communicate, his tireless drive and energy combined with his love of the Refuges for which he has volunteered has generated increased membership in Friends' organizations and increased interest and participation in Refuge events.

John Bertrand founded and publisher of  Habitat!, a professional quality news magazine for the Bosque del Apache NWR. Habitat! IS the Refuge's guide for visitors and includes information on Refuge Management activities, public use opportunities and refuge events.  John Bertrand has been the editor for 14 years, the business manager, a primary writer, a main distributor and the near total drive behind this primary element of public outreach which is produced by the Friends of the Bosque as a service to the  Refuge.
Habitat! clearly illustrates John's commitment and demonstrates his remarkable innovation, dedication and effective use of his talents. Each issue of Habitat! is mailed by the Refuge Manager with a covering letter to New Mexico’s Washington D.C. delegation, state legislators and department heads, and local municipal officials.  It is distributed as a paid insert by the two Socorro local newspapers and two suburban Albuquerque newspapers. 50,000 copies of  Habitat!, are then distributed statewide, and because it is so effectively composed and beautifully created, it is a powerful tool enabling the public both  to see the Refuge at work, and to appreciate the beauty of our natural resources and the importance of the Refuge. Habitat! encourages interest in and support of the Refuge and its activities and goals.

John is the editor of the "Bosque Watch," the newsletter of the Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR. "Bosque Watch" is an compilation of articles written by Refuge staff, Friends members and others, including John Bertrand. The Watch keeps over 1,000 Friends members informed of Refuge management activities and current events, and encourages Friends' participation in Refuge events and ongoing support of the Refuge.  Under Bertrand’s direction, members were offered the innovative option to receive "Bosque Watch" electronically rather than a printed copy by mail; more than half have elected this option. Leigh Ann Vradenburg, Executive Director of the Friends of the Bosque, has often stated that many join the Friends just to get the newsletters because they are so informative.

As recounted in the introductory letter, during 2006-2007, John was the driving force in organizing a fund raising effort to purchase 140 acres of land, including the summit of Chupadera Peak, adjacent to the western refuge boundary. Addition of the Peak was a long standing goal of the Refuge, and was a remarkable accomplishment. He demonstrated total dedication.
"I can truly say that John went above and beyond to promote the project and raise the necessary funds......  John stepped up, obtaining extensive and thorough media coverage.  He produced and distributed fliers and arranged for or wrote articles for publications from our local Socorro paper to the Albuquerque Journal.  In response to his push, the donations came flooding in, and we reached and exceeded our goal...." states Executive Director of the Friends, Leigh Ann Vradenburg. John employed his newspaperman talents for clearly informing the public via every means possible, including supporting and promoting the innovative approach of secure online donations on the Friends' website and encouraging a strong web presence by adding his photos of wildflowers, wildlife and scenic views at Chupadera. Through newspaper articles, radio, magazines, he created an irresistible picture of why we needed to add Chupadera Peak and why we needed to protect it and give it to the Refuge! There was no other option but success - a perfect motto for John, and success for John does not mean personal acclaim or achievement, but only means success for the Refuge, success for the future of the Refuge!

John has been intrinsically involved in the Bosque del Apache NWR's
premier event, the Festival of the Cranes, an event which has played a key role in raising the Bosque to a beloved status statewide and a place of national pride.

The Festival of the Cranes was founded by and conceived of by Phil Norton, Refuge Manager 1986-2000.
Leigh Ann Vradenburg, Executive Director, Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR says: "John’s pride in the Refuge has really shown this year with the 20th Festival of the Cranes. He has taken public relations to a new level, by forming a special committee and coming up with new projects to involve the local town of Socorro.  With John’s coordination, Socorro schools have created lawn signs featuring children’s wildlife drawings with a Festival by-line.  He has also worked with the Chamber of Commerce to create a business coupon page to distribute to Festival participants and to have these same businesses hang Festival posters in their store windows.  Wildlife, recreation, and tourist hotspots in a 120-mile radius of the Refuge have received promotional items and Festival brochures thanks to John’s deliveries in his personal car." What wonderful examples of innovation and dedication and what a great use of a talent for getting everyone involved and excited about their natural resources and their Refuge!

New Mexico Tech University’s Library now has available to users a concordance and analysis prepared by John Bertrand and presented in the name of the Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR, relating plates by John James Audubon in three editions of The Birds of America which are in its holdings.  At the library’s invitation in 2006, Bertrand also produced a 27-panel (83 linear feet) photograph and text exhibit which was displayed for three months illustrating Bosque del Apache as A Refuge for all Seasons- history, wildlife, flowers, mission, geography, personnel and Refuge activities .Panels from the exhibit now are displayed seasonally as one of the principal interpretive displays in the Refuge visitor center. The Library was delighted, and the posters are in constant demand.

John has written numerous articles for the Refuge and the Friends- most recently about the Bosque del Apache NWR's innovative conversion to solar power and the effort to become become as energy independent  as possible. Articles have appeared in newspapers in the local area and statewide.

Another example of his dedication and his direct contributions to the to the Refuge, to Refuge management and to the Friends of the Bosque comes from the Executive Director of the Friends, Leigh Ann Vradenburg who writes:
".....his passion is undeniable, and Refuge and Friends staff alike respect and appreciate the work that he does.  I know that I do, because my job would be impossible without his help. In the last five months without our ORP (Outdoor Recreation Planner), John has been my left-hand man for seven events on and off  Refuge. .....John is one of those people that makes you proud to be part of the family protecting this wonderful natural resource.  I am proud that we have  John on-board and I don’t know what we would do without him.  I have never seen a volunteer work so tirelessly and for so long for a cause....."   John  essentially became the Refuge's  Outdoor Recreation Planner for five months! This wonderful and much appreciated effort is another example which demonstrates John's attributes and use of  all of the components of the selection criteria.

Beginning in 2000, Bertrand worked at HQ under direction of Refuge Outreach Director Poppy Benson at Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, where he was involved in planning and implementation of ground-breaking, ribbon-cutting and grand opening functions leading to the July 4, 2004 Grand Opening ot the $18 million Islands and Ocean Visitor Center and joint headquarters of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve.  Throughout this period, Bertrand was a volunteer consultant assisting with forming community and travel industry advisory committees for the project.  He also directed media relations for the headquarters project. 

Bertrand designed and produced Alaska Maritime’s exhibit at the 2003 all-Alaska observance of the Centennial of the Refuge System, which was held at the fairgrounds in Soldatna, AK

L. Poppy Benson, Public Programs Supervisor for Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge writes: "I am so pleased that we are able to contribute to the nomination of John Bertrand for Volunteer of the Year as from 1995 to 2003 he was my most valuable volunteer....." and states in relation to the selection criteria Commitment to conservation of our natural resources and refuge management:
 "Many of us often thought that John was more dedicated than we were.  He was passionate about the work of this refuge and particularly getting the word out to the public about wildlife and the refuge.  He took advantage of every opportunity to learn more about the refuge’s resources and issues and cultivated the biologists so as to glean information and ideas from them.  His understood the 'Big Picture' of the refuge and was skillful in conveying that to the public.

John enthusiastically carried out a wide variety of tasks including dispensing public information at the visitor center desk and on the state ferry, working with school groups and even a stint doing bird censuses on the refuge ship, the M/V Tiglax.   However, his job here soon evolved to best take advantage of his special skills in writing, graphics and public relations. John’s work became critical during the development of our award winning Islands & Ocean Visitor Center. 

John had a nose for news and a deeply held conviction that we needed to do more to 'advertise' the refuge and our Islands & Ocean Visitor Center.  John was in charge of numerous publicity projects for the development of Islands & Ocean including events such as the sign unveiling, AV programs featuring center development, press briefings, and projects in support of the grand opening and the ground breaking such as invitations, posters and ads."


2. Superior skills in organization that support resource protection and management,
such as:
a. Training and mentoring other volunteers.
b. Experience assisting the refuge staff in accomplishing a variety of tasks.


John Bertrand has mentored and trained hundreds of volunteers in his many years of service to the National Wildlife Refuges where he has volunteered. He has encouraged them, developed talents in them many did not know they had, encouraged excitement and dedication, and inspired many to give their time and love to the birds, wildlife and habitat the Refuges so effectively protect.
John has assisted Refuge staff in multitudes of ways, and has assisted in accomplishing many goals, many of which were mentioned in the the first category and will be in successive categories. He is a man of many talents and accomplishments and so much of what he has contributed happily overlaps and exceeds the categories for selection.

Leigh Ann Vradenburg, Executive Director, Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR states, "For over a decade, John has mentored graphic artists and fledgling writers to create some of the most visually appealing and informative volunteer-produced publications in the Refuge System." 

Another selected example of mentoring -John was Dr. Park Borgeson's mentor.  Park was the Friends of the Bosque PR Chairman for 8 years and Board member for 6 years. John was also mentor to hundreds of others at the Refuges he has served.
According to Borgeson," John Bertrand has been my mentor at the Bosque del Apache NWR since I became active in the Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR about 15 years ago......(I have had) ample opportunity to observe John in his many capacities as a member...as a Resident Volunteer and as a principal Public Relations agent for both the Refuge and the Friends" "His primary duties were as the Refuge Public Relations agent, where he contacted all the area papers, television stations and radio stations. I took over some of his duties about 8 years ago, as PR chairman for the Friends of the Bosque, and every editor and news director in the state knew John....
John has also acted as the Refuge tour director for visitors on weekends. He has led hikes to wilderness areas on and off the refuge. He was a coordinator for other Resident Volunteers at the Bosque del Apache, particularly the recent arrivals. I saw him act as agent for the Refuge Manager on occasion, as in the acquisition of acreage adjacent to the Refuge two years ago, financed by the Friends. No job was too large or too small for John."

"He has encouraged many a local volunteer  to  participate in activities to further the enjoyment of our local wildlife for the many visitors who come each year to view and photograph the refuge." Mary Gillard

John is assisting the new  Friends group, Amigos de la  Sevilleta NWR   by helping with the writing of Articles of  Incorporation, By-laws and membership guidelines, projects, presentations and events.  He has  staffed an exhibit for the Sevilleta  Open house celebration as well as having spent many hours writing news releases and articles for refuge publications and preparing for Refuge special Events. According to the President of Amigos, Nyleen Troxel Stowe, "(John ) has recruited new members for the Amigos at events that he  attends. John volunteered and staffed...recruited and sold many items from the gift shop....(he) is very happy  to visit  with refuge visitors. he is  very patient and gladly  explains the environment, the ecosystems, and the various wildlife that are present on Bosque del Apache and Sevilleta. The Friends of the Bosque and the Amigos of Sevilleta are both very fortunate to have a friend such as John Bertrand...we are grateful for all of his service and for his passion for natural resources and wildlife in our  desert community."

Leigh Ann Vradenburg. Executive Director, Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR writes: "John is not just an asset to the Friends and the Refuge, but an essential leader and worker for the ongoing publicity and outreach of the Bosque.  With visitation soaring over 160,000 a year, attention to the media and dedication to producing and updating outreach materials is a necessity.  In my two and a half years here, John has taken on this role with pride and selfless diligence, working the same hours as the staff and often coming in on weekends."

According to Jon Morrison, President of the Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR, "The Friends would not be here if there had not been a need created by the Refuge’s desire for a  publication. The Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR would not have grown to be what it is  today if it hadn’t been for John’s drive, ideals, and 'why not' attitude.  It is because of his 14 years  of work that I believe John Bertrand should be Volunteer of the Year. "

An example of assisting refuge staff would bear repeating and is a quote from Leigh Ann Vradenburg,, Executive Director, Friends of the Bosque NWR.
 "In the last two years, the Refuge has experienced turnover in our Manager, Deputy Manager, Outdoor Recreation Planner, and Administrative Assistant positions, leaving the remaining staff overburdened with extra duties.  In response, John has stepped up from our publications coordinator to public relations director, handling many of the articles, interviews, and press releases that would have formerly been done by Refuge staff.  In that same timeframe, the Friends of the Bosque has accomplished two major projects: the construction of a $600,000 educational annex to the Visitor Center and the $63,000 purchase of the Chupadera Peak property for incorporation into the Refuge wilderness area.  For the educational annex, John made sure that local press was well informed of our construction status, and he ensured that our donors got the recognition they deserved."

John has been a member of Ducks Unlimited Socorro Chapter’s steering committee for the annual conservation fund-raising dinner since 1999, understudying Bosque senior biologist John Taylor until Taylor’s untimely death in 2004, and serving as Bosque’s representative in 2005 and 2006.  Bertrand was a principal with DU State President Jim Wolfe in staging an April, 2005 memorial tribute to Taylor which raised more than $50,000 to be applied to a Refuge rehabilitation project in Taylor’s name.  A Langemann automated water control structure is being installed this autumn with the funds.

L. Poppy Benson, Public Programs Supervisor for Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge states regarding the category superior skills in organization that support resource protection and management: "John was the go-to guy for help with any kind of graphics or publicity projects.  He was so valuable to us because he had this special set of skills and was so capable of pumping work out.   I tried to lure him back this past fall to take over graphic development for the 20th anniversary of the M/V Tiglax but he was too dedicated to his projects at Bosque to come.  He trained me and at times I think he was my boss.  He was tireless in advocating for more and better outreach with the Refuge Manager, myself and other staff members.  He always had the best interest of the resource and the public in mind.  John was very organized, worked well with deadlines and worked long hours to meet them."

Assistance in the Field at Selawik NWR

John assisted with weekly monitoring and recording of radio-collared moose herd with Refuge pilot-biologist in Refuge Supercub along the Selawik River over a large part of the Refuge’s 3.14 million acres. in 2002-2003. He helped prepare reports of visual sightings of cows and calves, and on-the-ground  examination of kill sites, and also helped with the air monitoring of muskoxen herd and in 2002 of staging area of Greater White-fronted Geese.

John was a Field Camp observer for three weeks during moose hunting season and migration of the Northwest Arctic caribou herd in 2002. He monitored and reported by radio on licensed transporters, provided Refuge interface with permitted hunters, recorded caribou movements, and used Refuge photographic equipment to obtain photographs for Annual Narrative and Refuge publications.
 
John assisted with Pacific Golden-plover tracking in 2002, and he initiated monitoring on the Refuge of radio frequencies of migrating Pacific Golden-plovers in conjunction with O. W. Johnson’s three-year study based at Hanalei NWR, and flew with the pilot-biologist recording three nesting sites in tundra at higher latitudes than any previously recorded in Alaska.

Eskimo Curlew – Following up on a report he received in 2002 from a reliable Inuit source of Eskimo Curlew sightings in a remote area of the Refuge, John assembled Refuge resources to visit and search the area by plane and boat immediately after spring break-up.  He took GPS coordinates of possible sightings, and observed nesting sights of the similar Whimbrel, were plotted and forwarded with a report to the Regional biologist in Anchorage for follow-up. 

3. Innovation in handling refuge assignments that include the use of new ideas/approaches and problem solving.

In relation to innovation, John's graphic capabilities have kept up with the times, and he is knowledgeable about digital photography, use of various complicated publication software (Quark XPress, InDesign, Adobe Photoshop) and operates both Mac and PC computers. With his journalistic knowledge, he contributes to the Friends of the Bosque's web site by making available an online version of the Bosque Watch newsletter for members to  download and he regularly e-mails photographs for the web. This is no mean task, and John is 81. One would think he is 22.
John uses new technology, materials and techniques for the publication and creation of Habitat! as well, often rearranging content and graphics so  that the overall look is visually appealing and striking. The main element of his talent, of course, stays intact- he is a good writer with a strong ability to motivate people with words! All this "new" knowledge is employed in his volunteer work for the Refuge.
 
In John's work as media relations director for the Festival of the Cranes, in conjunction with the Refuge’s staff POR he has produced numerous creative, innovative and informative graphic displays for the refuge, including posters, lawn signs,  banners and publicity materials for the Festival and for numerous  other year-round Refuge activities.

Some of the Bosque del Apache NWR refuge activities he promoted in innovative ways for 2007, to name a few were Hike the Chupadera Wilderness Trail, Bosque Spring Wildflower Hike,  Explore the Night Sky with Amy Estelle,  International Migratory Bird Day Celebration and Invertebrate Atlantis: The Amazing World of Aquatic Insects .

At Selawik NWR, John designed and published two years of the Selawik NWR Annual Narrative. He installed Excel Extensis filing and search system and converted Refuge photo files from 35mm slides to searchable digital files.
Designed and produced display materials and publications for use in Native programs.

Regarding problem solving- that is what John does exceptionally well, and in no small part because he is very intelligent and creative. He also practical, very, very practical. He can solve almost anything, but if he cannot, he knows who can, and with diligence and dedication he persists and accomplishes anything the Refuge asks. and anything the Refuge needs. In fact the first person Refuge staff or management or Friends usually go if they need something done or solved is John Bertrand.


4. Effectiveness in dealing with the public, other volunteers and other refuge users as demonstrated by specific accomplishments.

Community Relations & Service Clubs – Bosque del Apache NWR
Habitat! – Bosque del Apache NWR:
Bosque Watch, newsletter, both previously described have been praised throughout the state and have contributed to public appreciation and love of the Bosque
Chupadera Peak and land addition to the – Bosque del Apache NWR, described previously

John has been Marketing Committee Chairman, media relations director for the Festival of the Cranes in conjunction with the Refuge for the Festival , which is a joint collaboration with the Bosque del Apache NWR, the Friends of the Bosque, and the City of Socorro and citizens. He has interviewed with television reporters, written stories for newspapers, written a history of the Festival in the
newsletter, and has created and overseen graphics and signs and banners for the Festival.
He has distributed information about the Festival of the Cranes and the Bosque to newspaper reporters statewide and has met with reporters for  state television programs which have aired about the Bosque.
According to Jon Morrison, President of the Friends of the Bosque: "With John’s newspaper background, he is the Refuge’s link to the public on events from news  flashes to rare birds.  During the Festival of the Cranes, the Friends of the Bosque’s premier birding  festival, John submits daily articles to the New Mexico press, radio, and TV."  

("John) has encouraged private and corporate sponsorship for the various fundraising activities of the friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR." Mary Gillard

John Bertrand has made frequent presentations on topics of Refuge interest to Lions and Rotary International chapters in Socorro, and participates in Socorro County Chamber of Commerce activities on behalf of the Refuge.  He was awarded the Chamber’s 1993 W.B. Eaton Award issued annually to the outstanding volunteer of the year.

As previously stated in selection criteria #1, New Mexico Tech University’s Library now has available to users a concordance and analysis prepared by Bertrand and presented in the Friends’ name relating plates by John James Audubon in three editions of The Birds of America which are in its holdings.  At the library’s invitation in 2006, Bertrand also produced a 27-panel (83 linear feet) photograph and text exhibit which was displayed for three months illustrating Bosque del Apache as A Refuge for all Seasons.  Panels from the exhibit now are displayed seasonally as one of the principal interpretive displays in the Refuge visitor center.

At Selawik NWR: John presented a series of evening programs in Visitor Center on Refuge topics for Kotzebue residents, was an Elderhostel lecturer covering Arctic wildlife, refuge and Native land issues and development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
John designed and published two years of the Selawik NWR Annual Narrative.
and installed Excel Extensis filing and search system and converted Refuge photo files from 35mm slides to searchable digital files.
He designed and produced display materials and publications for use in Native programs.

At Alaska maritime NWR, John served as Refuge marine wildlife interpreter for two summers on the short Homer-Seldovia route of Alaska Marine Highway’s MV Tustamena, and as an adjunct, published a seasonal birding guide to
Seldovia and arranged for locally-conducted bird walks for arriving passengers.  Although assigned primarily to Visitor Services, Bertrand designed and assembled one year of the Refuge’s Annual Narrative, and assisted with publications.
Beginning in 2000, Bertrand worked at HQ under direction of Refuge Outreach Director Poppy Benson, where he was involved in planning and implementation of ground-breaking, ribbon-cutting and grand opening functions leading to the July 4, 2004 Grand Opening ot the $18 million Islands and Ocean Visitor Center and joint headquarters of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve.  Throughout this period, Bertrand was a volunteer consultant assisting with forming community and travel industry advisory committees for the project.  He also directed media relations for the headquarters project. 

Bertrand designed and produced Alaska Maritime’s exhibit at the 2003 all-Alaska observance of the Centennial of the Refuge System, which was held at the fairgrounds in Soldatna, AK.

L. Poppy Benson, Public Programs Supervisor, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge states in regard to selection criterion 4 -Effectiveness in dealing with the public, other volunteers and other refuge users:
"John was very effective at building alliances with refuge cooperators, staff members, business people and community members.  He worked on numerous projects with others where the interpersonal relationships he cultivated with design firms, print shops and other agencies were instrumental to the success of the project.  John recruited numerous other volunteers for the refuge both locally and nationally.  He enjoyed mentoring and interacting with our young interns and was a leading advocate and enthusiastic participant in refuge social life."


5. Dependability as demonstrated by years of service, support of refuge programs, integrity and recognition by others for refuge volunteer service.

John Bertrand's long history of volunteerism stretches over fourteen years and accounts for thousands of hours of quality service.

John has 11,651 recorded volunteer hours with Bosque del Apache NWR in visitor services, publications, Festival of the Cranes staff, and as media relations specialist

John has 4,140 recorded volunteer hours with Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge prior to 2000, and an untallied number of hours through 2004, serving in various capacities as exhibits designer, education specialist, visitor center receptionist, marketing specialist, and for one season as a biological assistant in the Aleutian Islands on the Refuge’s ocean-going research and transport vessel Tiglax.
It is worth repeating what L. Poppy Benson,Public Programs Supervisor for Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge said:
"I am so pleased that we are able to contribute to the nomination of John Bertrand for Volunteer of the Year as from 1995 to 2003 he was my most valuable volunteer.  John loved our refuge and would come every year for three months and sometimes longer, live in our bunk house with a motley crew, and work 40 – 60 hours a week."
John volunteered three months a year for us, 40 – 60 hours per week for nine years!  He rarely took a sick day or a day off.  As you will be able to tell from the other letters, we were not the only refuge.  John also volunteered at Selawik Refuge here in Alaska as well as his work at Bosque and other places down south.  His dedication was awesome.  We first nominated John for Volunteer of the Year Award in 1999, he was written up in our local paper as an extraordinary volunteer and he received a Life Time Service Award in 2004 or 2005.

John Bertrand served as a full-time resident volunteer at Selawik NWR in 2001 July 1 – 25, in 2002 for the months of July, August and September, and in 2003 for the months of March, April, May and June

John is aiding Sevilleta NWR and the new Friend's group, Amigos de la Sevilleta, and has helped in staffing an exhibit at Sevilleta NWR's Open house celebration, written news releases, articles for refuge publications and preparing for Refuge special Events

John was one of the Founders and original Board Members of the Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR in 1993.  Has served continuously as a member of the Public Relations Committee.  Friends of the Bosque del Apache honored him in 1998 with its Martha Hatch Award issued annually to one individual for outstanding service.

He was awarded the Chamber of Commerce of Socorro's 1993 W.B. Eaton Award issued annually to the outstanding volunteer of the year

National Wildlife Refuge Association – Bertrand was jointly nominated by Bosque del Apache and Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuges in 1999 (?)  as Volunteer of the Year, and was one of five finalists.

"While his extensive resume as a volunteer speaks for itself, it cannot completely communicate the extent to which John’s energy and enthusiasm has been responsible for the promotion of awareness for the wildlife and nature concerns that will provide for the future that we all desire for our Bosque. Thank you for your consideration of this matter and if I may be of any assistance or provide any further information please feel free to contact me." Don Tripp, State Representative District 49.

Leigh Ann Vradenburg, Executive Director of the Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR says, "In my two and a half years here, John has taken on this role with pride and selfless diligence, working the same hours as the staff and often coming in on weekends.....  I am proud that we have John on-board and I don’t know what we would do without him.  I have never seen a volunteer work so tirelessly and for so long for a cause, and I encourage you to recognize John Bertrand with this great honor of Volunteer of the Year. "

"John is truly dedicated to the refuge and serves as an outstanding community relations contact, regularly attending various service club meetings to discuss current events on the refuge and garner support from the local community. John's tireless efforts over many years are undoubtedly responsible for many of the successes realized by the Refuge as well as the Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR" Thomas J. Melanson, Refuge Manager, Bosque del Apache NWR

"John’s dedication, devotion, and commitment to Bosque del Apache NWR as well as the National Wildlife Refuge System, are certainly unmatched by few!  His enthusiasm and compassion for our Nation’s natural wildlife resources definitely exemplified, not only in the hours he spends, but the programs he has initiated and nurtured.  He is certainly an invaluable addition to the refuge and Refuge System.  It is without any hesitation or reservation that I nominate John Bertrand as Volunteer of the Year."
"Aaron Drew, Deputy Project Leader, Refuge Manager, Bosque del Apache NWR

"I know John has spent many a midnight's oil in writing news releases articles for refuge publications and preparing for refuge special events. John must have worked at least 20,000 hours volunteering at four or more refuges. I highly recommend Mr. John Bertrand for the Volunteer of the year Award!" Terrence Tadano,  Refuge Manager, Sevilleta NWR

"I considered John one of the best volunteers whom I had worked with in 38 years of  State and Federal Service. John worked 5 days a week and some
weekends. I awarded John his 10,000 hour volunteer pin and he has worked 2 years past that time. I considered John one of the finest "PR" and media people in the Fish and Wildlife Service. John had the ability  to get newspaper, radio and TV people to cover almost any event on the refuge.
Jim, Savery, Retired Refuge Manager,  Bosque del Apache NWR


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Evaluation CRITERIA
Please describe the accomplishments and attributes of the nominee in each of the
following evaluation categories.
1. Commitment to conservation of our natural resources and refuge management that
 demonstrates:
 a. Innovation.
 b. Personal Dedication.
 c. Effective use of job talents
.

2. Superior skills in organization that support resource protection and management,
 such as:
a. Training and mentoring other volunteers.
b. Experience assisting the refuge staff in accomplishing a variety of tasks.

3. Innovation in handling refuge assignments that include the use of new
ideas/approaches and problem solving.

4. Effectiveness in dealing with the public, other volunteers and other refuge users as
 demonstrated by specific accomplishments.

5. Dependability as demonstrated by years of service, support of refuge programs,
integrity and recognition by others for refuge volunteer service.


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