2019 Volunteer of the Year Award

During the Festival of the Cranes Friends Dinner, Friends was pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 Martha Hatch Award: Lise Spargo and JR Seeger. This award is given annually to a person (or persons) who exemplifies the characteristics of the ideal volunteer and who has made outstanding contributions to Friends and the refuge. The award is named in honor of Martha Hatch, who was Friends first newsletter editor and gave six years of dedicated service.

Lise and JR are each past presidents of Friends board of directors. Their leadership and clear thinking has helped to move Friends forward with a clear strategic direction, focus on fundraising and building capacity, a new website, and many other important contributions. Further, each has contributed plenty of “hard labor” at the Friends House and in the Desert Arboretum, including remodeling the Friends House to create a better place to host visitors, putting up willow fencing and water features, weeding, clearing out pack rat nests, and planting cactus. Lise was the driving force behind initial upgrades to the Desert Arboretum, providing vision and inspiration to many others who followed her in volunteering. Friends is grateful and indebted to Lise and JR for sharing their expertise and enthusiasm with us over so many years.

Martha Hatch Award Nominations

2020 update: Unfortunately, we have some difficult news to share.  In light of recent announcements by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, which indicate that COVID-19 could have a resurgence in the fall and could also very likely develop into a seasonal illness, the Executive Board of Friends of Bosque del Apache has made the very difficult decision to cancel the Festival of the Cranes for 2020. Due to this, we will begin nominations for the Martha Hatch Award again in 2021.

Award Qualifications: 

The original language establishing the Martha Hatch Award states:

“This Award is given to the person who best exhibits the characteristics of an ideal volunteer and who has made outstanding volunteer contributions to the Friends and the Refuge.  The Award is named after Martha Hatch, who was the Friends first newsletter editor, and who gave 6 years of dedicated service in that capacity.”

Among the guidelines that the Board or Selection Committee will follow in evaluating nominees for the Award are the following:

1. A Nominee must be a current member of the Friends.

2. Paid staff of the Friends or the Refuge are not eligible.

3. A Nominee may not have previously received the Martha Hatch Award (see list


4. Volunteer contributions in prior years will be considered; more recent activities may be

given additional weight.

5. Service to the Friends in an official capacity (past Board Member, committee member, or other appointed or otherwise designated capacity) will be considered.

6. Volunteer service on the Refuge in a capacity not administered by the Friends, or with     the Festival of the Cranes may be considered.

7. Financial contributions and “Sustaining Friends Membership” will be considered.

8. Participation in service clubs, civic activities, etc., unless participating as a     representative of the Friends, will not be considered.

Past Martha Hatch Award Winners

Martha Hatch

Roy Poole

Phil Norton

John Bertrand

Robert Kruidenier

Jerry Goff

Betty Davis

Steve Green

Tom Sizemore

Cheryl Learn Hill

Sandy Seth

Park Borgeson

Percy Deal

Jon Morrison

Barbara DuBois

Kale Batsell

Skeeter Leard

Jim & Penny Lommen

Dwayne & Marj Longenbaugh

Paul White

Matt Mitchell

Lise Spargo and JR Seeger