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Wiley ‘Dub’ Lyon Receives 2015 Refuge System Volunteer of the Year Award

September 28 was a day to celebrate a person whose volunteerism has made a huge impact on a national wildlife refuge. Wiley ‘Dub’ Lyon received the Refuge Association’s 2015 Volunteer of the Year Award in recognition of his exemplary service to Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.

For the past seven years, Mr. Lyon has volunteered to help the Balcones whenever and wherever needed. David Houghton, president of the National Wildlife Refuge Association, had the honor of presenting the award to Mr. Lyon.

Wiley 'Dub' Lyon Receives Award from David Houghton, President of the National Wildlife Refuge Association
Wiley ‘Dub’ Lyon Receives Award from David Houghton, President of the National Wildlife Refuge Association

“We’re here to celebrate the great people that have passion and enthusiasm for conservation. Volunteers choose what to do with their time and Dub chose our National Wildlife Refuge System,” noted Cynthia Martinez, chief of the National Wildlife System.

After donating 1,168 hours in his first eight months, it was quickly evident Mr. Lyon was not an average refuge volunteer. With great enthusiasm he tackled repair projects the refuge wasn’t able to accomplish while a maintenance position was open. In addition to finding cost-effective ways to complete maintenance projects, Mr. Lyon also serves as the refuge’s volunteer coordinator. He has helped recruit volunteers from the community and businesses, including Patagonia.

Mr. Lyon’s work also extends to ensuring youth learn about and appreciate the natural environment. “We need to teach children to protect our environment,” he said. “Schools didn’t have funds to transport students to the refuge and I was about to pay for them to come here out of my own pocket. Then I found a way to secure funds for the buses so students could come here and learn.” To help teachers plan field trips, Mr. Lyons trained other volunteers to help educators schedule environmental education programs.

In total, Mr. Lyons has contributed 12,400 volunteer hours (and counting!) in his seven years at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. How did all this volunteering begin? Mr. Lyons and his wife, Ruth Lyons, attended an open house at the refuge. Both had just retired and wanted something to do with their free time. Neither had volunteered for a refuge before, but they enjoyed the outdoors and felt helping the environment would be extremely beneficial.

In addition to Cynthia Martinez, several notable guests also attending the ceremony included Kelly McDowell, refuge supervisor, Oklahoma/Texas and David Maple, acting refuge manager at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. Also in attendance were additional staff from Balcones and volunteers with Friends of Balcones.

David Maple, David Houghton, Cynthia Martinez, Wiley 'Dub' Lyon, Ruth Lyon and Kelly McDowell (from left to right)
David Maple, David Houghton, Cynthia Martinez, Wiley ‘Dub’ Lyon, Ruth Lyon and Kelly McDowell (from left to right)

Read more about Mr. Lyons accomplishments in the press release.

For additional information on the National Wildlife Refuge System Awards visit our webpage. Nominations for the 2016 Awards will be open from Oct. 1 to Dec. 1, 2015.

Permanent link to this article: http://refugeassociation.org/2015/10/wiley-dub-lyon-receives-2015-refuge-system-volunteer-of-the-year-award/

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