Photo by Mike Childers – From left: Chapter President Melissa Duckworth, Sammye Childers, Awards Chair Sue Kersey

At a recent meeting of the Highland Lake Master Naturalists, Sammye Childers was presented with the nation’s highest honor for volunteer service – a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution of over 4,000 hours of volunteer service.  Along with the presidential recognition, Mrs. Childers received a personalized certificate, an official eagle pin and a congratulatory letter from President Obama.
Mrs. Childers has been a member of the Highland Lakes Master Naturalists since 2009, and also serves as a volunteer with the Highland Lake Master Gardeners, the Highland Lakes Bird and Wildflower Society, and is the incoming President of the Highland Lakes Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas. When asked what she does in her free time, Mrs. Childers laughed and said “I think about other organizations I can get involved with!” She is a native Texan, who spent her early childhood at a family ranch in West Texas, and gives credit to her grandfather for instilling the values environmental stewardship in a practical and common sense way. Watching the changes that have occurred in the Hill Country over the past 60 years has been her driving force for volunteerism.
“There are so many things I enjoy about volunteer work,” said Mrs. Childers, “especially touching the lives of young children and bringing them into the conservation effort.” “I think that young people today have a better understanding of the impact they have on the planet”, she reflects, “more so, I think, than our generation did.”  This gives her hope for the future.
The Mission of the Highland Lakes Master Naturalists is “to provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.” Individuals interested in learning more about the Master Naturalist program, or other environmental service organizations in the area, are encouraged to visit the websites listed below. And should you decide to become a volunteer, well, chances are good you’ll run across Sammye Childers!
Texas Master Naturalists –  (Highland Lakes Chapter)
Texas Master Gardeners – (Highland Lakes Chapter)
Native Plant Society of Texas – (Highland Lakes Chapter)