The South Dakota Division of Parks and Recreation recently recognized individuals for their dedication and hard work in the state parks system. The awards were made at the division’s fall meeting earlier this month in Rapid City.

“It is an honor to recognize these individuals,” said Scott Simpson, division director. “Their dedication can be seen in parks across the state and is enjoyed by the many visitors to South Dakota state parks and recreation areas each year.”

Archie and Marlys Remmers and Vern and JoDean Joy earned 2019 Volunteers of the Year awards. Both couples have spent the last 10 years volunteering at West Bend Recreation Area east of Pierre.

The Program Innovation Award went to the organizers of the Little Wings on the Prairie Butterfly Festival. The event is held annually at Oahe Downstream Recreation Area near Fort Pierre, and highlights the importance of pollinators in our ecosystem. The festival is a collaborative effort sponsored by South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service Fort Pierre National Grasslands, South Dakota State University Extension Office, Pheasants Forever, South Dakota Discovery Center, Prairie Potters Master Gardeners, Missal Honey, and Black Hills Parks and Forests Association.

Dale Dawson received the Award of Appreciation for his exceptional work as Conservation Foreman at Lewis and Clark Recreation Area in Yankton.

The 2019 Seasonal Employee of the Year Award was given to Vern Nelson, who has been employed at Custer State Park for the past 10 summers.

A Teamwork Award was presented to the full-time staff in southeast South Dakota who put in extra time and effort this year responding to natural disasters. Team members include Justin Thede, Jacob Willman, Clay Peck, Tim Anderson, Kelly Qualm, Luke Dreckman, Derek Dorr, John Dummer, Rob Reuland, Mark Robinson, Lane Moeller, Jason Baumann, Jim Henning, Jen Nuncio, Brandon Kemp, Brent (James) Downs, Jay Flynn, Jody Moats, Cass Pierce, Shane Bertsch, Jacob Manning, Scott Pospishil, Jeanne Schroeder, Joe James, Dale Dawson, Jim Sejnoha, Brandon Mastalir, Jon Corey, Eric Schoenfelder, Kevin Wells, Lawrence (JR) Kiyukan, and Allie Wilson.

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