During the Friends of Wisconsin State parks Annual Awards Banquet held in October, 2013, at the Horicon Marsh Education Center, several Friends members received awards. This is the first in a series of articles focusing on the winners.
AI Swain - Friends of Blue Mound State ParkAl Swain has taken his passion for botany and plant ecology and has vigorously enhanced the interpretive opportunities at Blue Mound State Park - it has gone from a mere self-guided interpretive hike to a vibrant Interpretive Program. Al is a retired botanist and plant ecologist and has been a volunteer naturalist and Friends member for the last 14 years. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, visitors to the park have been treated to Al's ''Intro to the park'' presentations on Friday nights, and a interpretive morning hike even Saturday and Sunday morning. In addition to that. he has Wisconsin Explorer programs for children and brings in guest speakers for Saturday night programs throughout the summer.
Swain’s countless hours of donated time and effort over the last 14 years have been invaluable for the park and Us management. Outside of his interpretive work, he has also done several research projects on the park and is the foremost expert on the history of the Blue Mound area.
One of the projects involved a crashed C-47 from 1944 at the park prior to it being a park. This research and field work resulted in a permanent memorial at the park and annual visits by the Honor Guard every Memorial Day.
Al has touched thousands of individuals over the last 14 years and contributed countless hours of work to the park. He has also been a dedicated Friend of Blue Mound State Park member for many years and has worked lo help the friends reach their goals in the park.
Bill Scholten – Friends of Potawatomi State Park“The original friend of Potawatomi State Park'' - is a tribute to Bill In itself! Bill is a remarkable man, who has been a tireless advocate and promoter of Door County and the Door County state park for the past 17 years. Not only is he president of the Friends of Potawatomi State Park, but he also founded the organization with the goal of improving his slice of heaven for area residents and visitors. As president since 1995, Bill has been dubbed the ''ambassador of Potawatomi State Park'' and for 1 7 years has served as the chairman of the their ''RUN WILD'' event which attracts over 500 runners each year and is a major fundraiser for the Friends group.
Through Bill's leadership and the work of the Friends group, they have contributed over $150,000 to Potawatomi State Park for projects Such as: Public amphitheater, the Park store which also does canoe, kayak and bike rentals, Naturalist program, ski trail grooming equipment, playground equipment. park benches and other critical support to the property.
Bill and his wife Marlene enjoy their home on Sand Bay where he loves sailing, along with his love of running. Bill and Marlene have been married for 54 years and have 5 children and 8 grandchildren.