The Arlington County Board on Thursday, April 25, will honor Bill Browning with the 2018 Bill Thomas Volunteer Award for his passionate dedication and support of County natural resources and public open spaces The award, named for lifelong parks volunteer Bill Thomas, honors and encourages park volunteerism in Arlington.
“Bill Browning, a master naturalist with a passion for preserving Arlington’s natural resources, epitomizes the volunteer spirit that plays such an important part in the County’s efforts to maintain and reclaim our precious natural spaces,” County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said.
The award ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. in the County Board Room on the Third Floor of the Ellen M. Bozman Government Center, 2100 Clarendon Blvd. A reception will follow in the first-floor Azalea Conference Room.
1,000 hours of volunteer work
Browning has been an active member of the Arlington Regional Master Naturalists since 2013, contributing more than 1,000 hours of volunteer service.
Browning’s leadership and commitment spearheaded the effort to transform Powhatan Springs Park. He led citizen science observation events for the City Nature Challenge at Powhatan that engaged experts and members of the public in recording all flora and fauna in the park and other local areas. The tree inventory he helped conduct was used to create a GPS version that shows all the park’s native trees and natural features and will facilitate future volunteer and restoration work. Through Bill’s efforts, and those of other volunteers, brush piles created at the park have welcomed wildlife previously unseen on the site, including a Barred Owl.
Browning has helped remove invasive plants at several other County parks and Culpepper Gardens; monitored streams across Arlington; worked at the native plant garden at Potomac Overlook Regional Park, and performed seed cleaning and other nursery work for Earth Sangha, a facility that propagates native plants for restoration plantings in the area.
A true leader of the Arlington Regional Master Naturalists, Browning has served as Membership Chair and created initiatives such as the mentor program. He increased communications to help new members connect with current members and easily find volunteer opportunities that best fit their interests.
Browning recently completed a Certificate of Achievement in Natural History Field Studies through USDA Graduate School and the Audubon Naturalist Society.