Arlington County Honors Outstanding Park Volunteers

  • Dog park advocate, avid gardener win individual Bill Thomas Awards
  • Environmental service organization wins group award
  • Bill Thomas Award, highest honor in Arlington County parks

ARLINGTON, Va. The Arlington County Board today honored the 2013 Bill Thomas Outstanding Park Service Volunteer Award winners during the Board's April Recessed Board Meeting.

Keith Fred, a dog park advocate, and Peter Jones, an avid gardener, won individual awards. Arlington Regional Master Naturalist (ARMN) won the organizational award in recognition of their support for Arlington's natural environment for the past seven years.

“Arlington's wonderful parks owe much of their beauty to the hard work and dedication of County volunteers,” said County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “Part of what makes our community so special is the extraordinary willingness of our residents to volunteer countless hours to care for our natural environment. The Bill Thomas Awards offer well-deserved recognition to individuals and organizations that really are the backbone of Arlington.”

About Keith Fred

For 13 years, Keith Fred has been organizing dog park clean-ups and donating materials to the Shirlington Community Canine Area. He also helped form the Shirlington Dogs II, a group of volunteers who help maintain the park. To learn more about Mr. Fred's outstanding efforts on behalf of Arlington's dog parks – efforts that have brought happiness and exercise into the lives of hundreds of thousands of dogs and the people who love them – visit the County website.

About Peter Jones

Since taking up Bonsai as a hobby in 1972, Peter Jones has conducted countless community workshops, classes and one-on-one trainings for Arlingtonians. Mr. Jones advocated for the inclusion of an educational display garden of dwarf evergreens and conifers at the Walter Reed Community Center, and organized a group of dedicated volunteers to maintain the space. To learn more about Mr. Jones' efforts, visit the County website.

About Arlington Regional Master Naturalist (ARMN)

Arlington Regional Master Naturalist (ARMN) volunteers have been supporting Arlington's natural environment for the past seven years. Volunteers engage in environmental stewardship, education and citizen science projects. To become an Arlington Regional Master Naturalist, volunteers must complete a four-month training course taught by recognized experts in all aspects of natural history and provide a minimum of 40 hours of environmental service annually.

The group support Arlington's Magnolia bog, a globally rare plant community in Barcroft Park. The bog is one of the most sensitive natural habitats in the area and requires great care and attention, which the volunteers provide with skill and dedication. To learn more about these remarkable volunteers, visit the County website.

About the Bill Thomas Award

The Bill Thomas Outstanding Park Service Volunteer Award was established to pay tribute to lifelong parks volunteer Bill Thomas, and to honor and encourage those residents who demonstrate a passionate dedication and support for our dynamic programs, natural resources and public open spaces. Search “Bill Thomas” at for more information.

Arlington Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.