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Award-Winning Volunteers

Houston Audubon has a staff of less than 20 people and over 150 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*.

Karen Hoffman and Les Pearce - Laura Singleton Exceptional Volunteers for 2019

Karen Hoffman and Les Pearce
Karen Hoffman and Les Pearce

Laura Singleton Exceptional Volunteer presentation for 2019

This year the award went to Karen Hoffman and Les Pearce. Our nominating committee was in complete agreement that these two were deserving of this honor, and for good reason. Les and Karen started volunteering with us in 2011, both in the Natives Nursery and as ELMNS Workday volunteers. It wasn't long after getting started that they went from participants to leaders, taking the initiative to thoroughly educate themselves about native plants and Houston Audubon's work and offering suggestions for ways we could improve as well as guiding and mentoring other volunteers.

Two of our newer staff members, Anna Vallery and Lauren Miheli, credit Karen and Les with teaching them about our native plants and the history of the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary.

Recently retired Volunteer Coordinator Juanita Perkins had this to say: "Karen has effectively participated in the formation and expansion of the Natives Nursery. She brings much knowledge about plants and the natural world. She and Les have done so much to keep the ELMNS trails in tip-top shape by overseeing the mulching and maintenance of the trails at many Saturday workdays."

Karen and Les have also been instrumental in getting our new Sanctuary Stewards volunteer program established at Edith L. Moore.

Some words that have been used to describe them include hard working, positive attitudes, enthusiastic, humble, dedicated, ready to volunteer, driving force,  biggest supporters, excellent and deserving candidates.

Aside from all this, Houston Audubon staff and volunteers appreciate that they share Hatch Chili foods when in season!

Congratulations Karen and Les, and thank you to you and all of our volunteers for your work in 2019.


*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

  • 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