Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams recently announced the winners of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s 2012 Denny Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Stewardship, honoring efforts by Kubota Gardens super-volunteer Maryanne Parmeter, and the dedicated efforts of volunteers at Othello Park Alliance.. The winners are a cross-section of Seattle’s most tenacious, creative and hard-working volunteers who donate precious time and energy to improving Seattle’s parks and programs.
“It is always difficult for us to choose winners,” Williams said. “All of our volunteers make valuable contributions for which we are deeply grateful. Our intention is to single out those who whose work builds community, inspires others, and improves lives.”
Each year, more than 40,000 volunteers donate about 350,000 hours to Seattle Parks and Recreation. Their service is valued at between $8 and $10 million annually. Winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony on November 29, 2012.
Special Gardens Award
Mary Anne Parmeter, Kubota Garden Foundation
Mary Anne Parmeter has donated thousands of hours to Kubota Garden and the Kubota Garden Foundation in the past 22 years. As a founding board member, Mary Anne has held many roles. Since 1991 she has served as the editor and publisher of the Kubota Garden Foundation Newsletter, was Secretary for several terms and currently responds to calls to the foundation’s voice mail system. She developed and wrote the Garden’s Tour Guide program. She spent hours researching historical information for the guide, including interviewing Tom Kubota — the son of the Garden’s founder, Fujitaro Kubota. Not only did she write the guide book, she still trains the Tour Guides and takes a personal interest in seeing them succeed.
Park Activation Award
Othello Park Alliance, Othello Park
The roots of the Othello Park Alliance (OPA) go back to a tragic and deadly shooting on one of the basketball courts at Othello Park in 2005. Neighbors stepped up, helping to create positive, family friendly events in the park. In 2008 those neighbors formed The Othello Park Alliance. For four years, OPA has produced the Othello Park International Music and Arts Festival, an annual signature event. More than 1,500 people attend this event annually. In 2011, the Music and Arts Festival was formally accepted as a Seafair-sanctioned community event. This group gathers grants, donations and sponsorships of more than $15,000 each year to fund the annual Music and Arts Festival. They have also raised more than $278,000 to organize, coordinate and fund six design processes and park improvement projects.
The Denny Awards are named after David T. and Louisa Denny, who donated land for the first Seattle park in 1884 (Denny Park), where Parks’ headquarters are located.
Seattle Parks and Recreation gratefully acknowledges the Denny Award sponsors and supporters, including the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, Seattle Park Foundation, Associated Recreation Council, Parker Design House, Ivar’s Restaurants, Seattle Aquarium, Seattle Parks and Recreation Japanese Garden, Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle Art Museum, Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering, Pacific Science Center, Schwartz Brothers Restaurants, and 5th Avenue Theater.
A Full list of the 2012 Denny Award winners can be found here on the Parkways Blog.