Chato Receives Volunteer Service Award
The Urbana Park District wishes to congratulate and thank Beth Chato of Urbana. She recently received the Outstanding Citizen Volunteer of the Year Award from the Illinois Association of Park Districts for her dedicated volunteer service.
This award recognizes citizens' volunteer efforts to enhance a park district, forest preserve, conservation, recreation or special recreation agency program, service, park land, open space or facility.
Chato has been a dedicated volunteer at the Anita Purves Nature Center for more than 30 years. She gives 20 hours per month managing the Audubon Nature Shop located inside the facility. Proceeds from the store help fund some of the nature center programs, and also is a source of revenue for the Champaign County Audubon Society, of which she is a long term member. She also helps to lead weekly Sunday Morning Bird Walks in Crystal Lake Park and Busey Woods.
She has served for many years as a Volunteer Naturalist and School Tour leader, teaching Environmental Education to school age children visiting the nature center on class field trips. She has taught other volunteers how to lead school tours and served as a resource to nature center staff members for program development. Chato also undertakes an annual bird count in Urbana Park District Natural Areas, and attends a Board of Commissioners meeting annually to report on the species observed and quality of habitat for bird species.
Chato makes a major contribution to the district and the nature center in many ways every week, explained Development Manager Ellen Kirsanoff, who nominated Chato for the award.
“In addition to the time she spends at the nature center, Beth has also served on a number of planning committees for redevelopment of park areas, development of the Friendship Grove Nature Playscape, and she is a long- serving member of the Urbana Park District Natural Areas Committee (NAC). NAC meets monthly to advise the district on all aspects of management of more than 150 acres of prairie, woodland, savanna, and wetland owned and managed by the Urbana Park District. NAC has been a huge help to the district in the decision making process for best practices to manage our areas in the best possible way. Beth is truly deserving of the IAPD Outstanding Citizen Volunteer of the Year,” Kirsanoff said.