In recognition of her outstanding contributions to Three Rivers Park District, Kale’a Pawlak-Kjolhaug of Shorewood, has been awarded the Park District’s Distinguished Volunteer Service Award for her service as a youth volunteer helping as a program assistant, natural resources monitor and surveyor and animal care assistant at Lowry Nature Center.
Pawlak-Kjolhaug has been volunteering for almost four years. In that time, she has volunteered a total of 442 hours. As a program assistant, Pawlak-Kjolhaug helps out with three to four camps a summer, and is not only a great helper but a great role model for the younger kids participating in the camps.
She has also helped with many events and programs including being in costume on the Halloween Enchanted Forest Trail.
As an animal care assistant, Pawlak-Kjolhaug fed the nature center’s amphibians and reptiles and cleaned their aquariums.
She also monitored them and let staff know if they were in need of special care.
Pawlak-Kjolhaug also served as a natural resources monitor and surveyor. She regularly monitored her own trail of bluebird nesting boxes and took it upon herself to start and coordinate the bird feeder count program.
She also monitored monarch larva as part of a national citizen science project to collect long-term data on larval monarch populations and milkweed habitat.
These initiatives are being done in hopes of providing continued habitat for wildlife and enjoyment of seeing these species by the public.
“Kale’a is flat-out amazing,” said Allison Neaton, outdoor education supervisor for Lowry Nature Center. “She has been a huge asset to us here at Lowry and to see a youth who is so committed to the environment and willing to pass that on to others and to help out as much as she can is really special. We are honored to have gotten to know her over the past four years and excited to see how she will continue to impact the world in her future volunteer and career work.”
Pawlak-Kjolhaug will be honored by the Park District Board of Commissioners at an award ceremony 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, at the district administrative center in Plymouth.