Conservation Awards 2024

2024 Conservation Awards Sunset Image with Text

ASPEN AWARD recognizes outstanding service by a volunteer in their first three years. 

Meet this year’s nominees.

Aspen Award Nominees

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As a former teacher and principle, Tom Elliott’s positive, flexible attitude always benefits visitors, parks, and natural resources in a meaningful way. Fluent in Spanish, Tom actively engages the community, young and old, through leading by example.

As a second-year Trails Volunteer, Dan Cavaliere’s skill set has grown with each new opportunity. He often offers suggestions for improvements, big and small, and his positive attitude is contagious. A retired teacher, he exhibits a welcoming approach to new volunteers and visitors to help them understand the What, Why, and How of our mission.

Nathan Venechuck’s enthusiasm and willingness to contribute is evident in his patrols and pop-up events. In his short amount of time here, he’s already helped with multiple safety initiatives, including patrolling during 4th of July - the first to volunteer in years!

Tony Tochtrop goes out of his way to seek stewardship contacts and make a lasting impact on visitors. He sees the world as a place of learning and speaks with kindness and compassion. Even as a new volunteer, Tony can approach delicate situations with poise and safety.

As a monitor of North Table Mountain Park cliff-nesting raptors, Denny Bohon has the field knowledge and initiative to keep track of current and historic sites. She has helped clarify data records, making it easier for other volunteers. Her diligence and commitment has helped find new, active nests in other parks, and even remove safety hazards that help the team, wildlife, and habitat.

Judy Smetana jumps at the chance to greet all visitors with a smile and is always willing to share her knowledge. She attends staff trainings and takes it upon herself to research topics that help tell visitors a more complete Boettcher history. Judy contributes to any task that needs to be done, from cleaning and gardening, to giving extended tours and staying after hours.

Jan & Ron Schmidt - This dynamic volunteer duo is committed to their community and every aspect of the JCOS park system. They take on multiple projects and initiatives at a single park, learning and improving the park as a whole. They also bring background knowledge and expertise to the Fire Awareness Ambassador program and from the Conifer Area Council.

Check out our Aspen Award Recipients from 2023, 2022, 2020, and 2019!

Congratulations to Tom Elliott, this year's Aspen Award Recipient.


ROCKY MOUNTAIN JUNIPER AWARD is presented to an individual for outstanding service with a stewardship project or education initiative. 

Meet this year’s nominees.

Rocky Mountain Juniper Award Nominees

Averaging over 300 hours a year for the past nine years, Allan Reid’s commitment to JCOS is beyond average. He’s a go-to for training new volunteers and is always recruiting! With a passion for geology and his community, Allan exemplifies and promotes outstanding stewardship.

A constant presence on the Trails Volunteer Team, Cliff Deakyne has contributed over 1,460 hours in just four years of service. With outstanding trail maintenance skills, he is willing and able to teach new volunteers the ropes on projects big or small. Cliff can easily be spotted collecting trash on the trails and is known for his reliability.

A retired Air Force Colonel, Mark Hinchman is quick to point out the environmental impacts and sustainability features of any trail project. Contributing over 600 hours in 2023, he has become a team safety leader and expert in technical rock work. A constant recruiter, he is often eager to be paired with new volunteers and helps them understand the importance of stewardship through personal commitment.

A retired rocket scientist and volunteer since 2018, Brian Hudson has expanded his commitment to Hiwan and JCOS in every way possible. He has supported education programs through COVID, inspected historic buildings, and offers daily museum tours. Donning his notable cowboy hat and duster jacket, Brian is a recognizable hero to Hiwan staff, volunteers, and visitors.

A volunteer for over eight years, Jessica Stubert-Perasso has become a mentor to Park Hosts, contributing to improved messaging, education, and events. She steps up for multiple roles throughout the organization, making her knowledgeable on many topics and a perfect stewardship ambassador for visitor contacts.

Check out our Rocky Mountain Juniper Award Recipients from 2023, 2022, 2020, and 2019!

Congratulations to Mark Hinchman, this year's Rocky Mountain Juniper Award Recipient.


DOUGLAS FIR AWARD recognizes an organization that is an outstanding partner advancing conservation in Jefferson County.

Meet this year’s nominee.

Douglas Fir Nominee

An ongoing partner in preserving high-priority conservation properties in Jefferson County, The Conservation Fund was instrumental in acquiring more than 2,100 acres of critical Front Range habitat and ultimately, providing public access to the summit of Mount Tom, 9,741 feet, just outside the foothills.

Check out our  Douglas Fir Award Recipients from 2023, 2022, 2020, and 2019!

Congratulations to The Conservation Fund, this year's Douglas Fir Award Recipient.


BLUE SPRUCE AWARD is presented to an organization that creates programs or initiatives that connect people to healthy nature-based experiences. 

Meet this year’s nominees.

Blue Spruce Nominees

Inclusive Guide - Partnering on this feedback-based website allows visitors to rate JCOS parks and spaces on multiple components. A modern-day “Green Book” for businesses and organizations, the site helps address concerns and offers a voice for creating inclusive dialogue in the community.

Jeffco Communities That Care is focused on preventing substance misuse, interpersonal violence, and hopelessness among youth. As a coalition partner, JCOS is able to offer staff and volunteers Out for Safe Spaces training to provide allyship for LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and multiracial youth.

Check out our Blue Spruce Award Recipients from 2023, 2022, 2020, and 2019!

Congratulations to Inclusive Guide, this year's Blue Spruce Award Recipient.


GAMBEL OAK AWARD is presented for pioneers in preserving open space and park lands in Jefferson County.

Gambel Oak Recipient

Photo and description of the Gambel Oak Nominee ENOR

Eagle’s Nest Owl’s Roost (ENOR) has been providing outdoor learning experiences since 1974 with a focus on environmental education and youth development. Through partnership with JCOS and other community members, campers receive hands-on lessons in stewardship, LNT principles, safety, and respect for nature.

Check out our Gambel Oak Award Recipients from 2023, 2022, 2020, and 2019!

Congratulations to ENOR Environmental Discovery Camp, this year's Gambel Oak Award Recipient.


JOHN LITZ AWARD is our most prestigious award that recognizes an individual for significant and longtime volunteer contributions to JCOS and conservation in Jeffco. The award is named after an individual who helped found the organization in 1972 and was involved for over 50 years. He served on the Jeffco Open Space Advisory Committee for 26 years and regularly volunteered until his final days to do just about anything to advance the organizational mission.

John Litz Recipient

Photo and description of John Litz Award Recipient LESLIE O'CONNOR

Leslie O'Connor has dedicated over 20 years of service to JCOS and the community. An outstanding role model and mentor, she brings out the best in other volunteers and leads through personal example. Her love for the parks, visitors, and resources can be seen in every contact she makes and every project she has participated in over the years.

Check out our John Litz Award Recipients from 2023. 2022, 2020, and 2019!

Congratulations to Leslie O'Connor, this year's John Litz Award Recipient.