This award recognizes an individual that has made outstanding contributions and provided consistent support for trail planning, development, or maintenance. It is intended to recognize the efforts of a private or public sector individual working for enhanced trail recreation on either the local, state, or national level.
As a member of the Ozark Trail Association (OTA), Kathie is a high energy, tireless volunteer with a passion for kids and trail building who has immersed herself into almost every aspect of the Ozark Trail (OT).
As a trained and certified trail builder and sawyer, Kathie has accumulated over 1,500 hours of volunteer trail service since 2006, most of those as a crew leader.
Since her involvement in the OTA, her commitment to get kids involved has led Kathie to be the most requested crew leader among families who attend the construction events. By working with kids ranging from two years to teens, these future hikers and backpackers learn the importance of trail construction but not all is work as Kathie takes the time to create nature interpretive moments along the trail as well as nurturing a passion for the Ozark Trail (OT) by discussing how their efforts result in becoming an owner of the OT.
Developing partnerships and collaborating with businesses, corporations and agencies from REI, the Alpine Shop to Missouri’s DNR and USDA Forest Service, Kathie strives to inform parents about why children need to be outdoors, where kids get to move at life’s natural pace and exploration turns into fun adventures and “lifer” moments. She continually passes on information about the “Get out and Play” initiative and provides information for books, articles and web sites that parents can utilize to find activities and information for their use.
Kathie’s passion doesn’t stop at the OT, as a seasonal naturalist for Missouri’s DNR State Parks, her equally hard work and inspiration is shared with park visitors and staff as well as utilizing her training by holding trail construction and maintenance events at her park and assisting other state park’s staff with trail issues. Last year, Kathie contributed more than 300 hours leading volunteer crews which included kids, in constructing more than 4 miles of new trails and maintaining more than 100 miles of existing trails on the OT, a hiking, biking and equestrian trail corridor from St. Louis to Arkansas. From her efforts and leadership, Kathie was presented with the USDA Forest Service Regional Volunteer Crew Leader/Supervisor Award for her efforts, especially with kids, from among volunteers in a 20-state northeastern region.