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Award-Winning Volunteers

Houston Audubon has a staff of less than 20 people and over 300 active volunteers, so to say that volunteers are important to our mission is an understatement. Houston Audubon relies on volunteers every day of the year to help us with education, restoration, administration and everything and anything you can imagine.

Each year we celebrate the contributions of these valued volunteers at a picnic at the Edith L. Moore log cabin. On top of recognizing the work of all volunteers collectively, each year we select one (and sometimes two) distinguished volunteers who went above and beyond to support our work in a way that stood out to staff and board members, who we honor with the Laura Singleton Exceptional Volunteer Award*.

Winnie Burkett - Laura Singleton Exceptional Volunteer for 2021

Winnie Burkett
Winnie Burkett

Laura Singleton Exceptional Volunteer for 2021

Houston Audubon announced the 2021 Laura Singleton Exceptional Volunteer at a lively celebration with our volunteers at the conclusion of National Volunteer Week. Our deserving honoree for 2021 is Winnie Burkett.

Our Land Director, Pete Deichmann, works very closely with Winnie as part of spring migration and other important activities and had the following to say about his work with her:

"Winnie has distinguished herself as extremely passionate, and generous. It’s hard to think of someone with as much intimate knowledge about Houston Audubon as she. She started her journey years ago as a volunteer, leading to a full-time staff position for 17 years in which she managed and significantly added to Houston Audubon’s sanctuary system. In her retirement, she returned as a volunteer. Her friendly smile, fierce dedication to conservation, and love for birds are evidenced by the regular litter clean-ups that she organizes every year at the North Jetty and Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary. She’s an integral part of the busy Spring Migration season in High Island from planning to execution, and she serves as an advisor on many important issues affecting Houston Audubon and bird conservation. Winnie is quick to share her knowledge with others, and engages everyone with a smile and most joyful, “Hello!” 

Congratulations Winnie, and thank you to all of the volunteers that make it possible for us to achieve our mission!

*Laura Singleton

The Laura Singleton Exceptional Volunteer Award is an annual tribute and memorial to Laura Singleton, a long-time Houston Audubon volunteer who passed away in 2002. The criteria for the award mirrors what Laura herself represented - the best of volunteerism. Laura was collaborative, inclusive and flexible in getting people to work together. She never hesitated to ask others to help, and because she approached everyone with enthusiasm and good humor, people responded in kind. Although she could see the obstacles, she typically proceeded without hesitation to think up seven or eight ways to overcome them. She is still greatly missed by all of us at Houston Audubon, and we take great pleasure in honoring her and other exceptional volunteers each year.

Laura Singleton Exceptional Volunteers

  • 2021Winnie Burkett

  • 2020JD Carballo

  • 2019Karen Hoffman and Lester Pearce

  • 2018Doris Heard

  • 2017Julie d’Ablaing

  • 2016Ben Hulsey

  • 2015Mary Carter

  • 2014Judith Schott

  • 2013Alice Anne O'Donell

  • 2012Judy Boyce and Martha Wright

  • 2011Jim Winn and Jennifer Lezak

  • 2010Sara Bettencourt and Pam Smolen

  • 2009Joy Hester and Don Verser

  • 2008Hurricane Ike Cleanup Volunteers

  • 2007Barbara Tilton and Aaron Stoley

  • 2006Julia Garrett

  • 2005Linda Kuhnen

  • 2004Susan and Brad Billetdeaux, Don Gray

  • 2003Peggy Boston and Betty Keith

  • 2002Marjie Pierce and John Miers