Dorothy Hoard Stewardship Award, 2015
The Dorothy Hoard Stewardship Award was established in March 2014 by the Friends as a memorial to the group's founder and long-time president. The award recognizes contributions to the stewardship of natural and cultural resources in Bandelier or in the Los Alamos area. Nominees are individuals who have taken a lead role in a conservation effort that has had a significant positive impact to the community, the Monument, the Valles Caldera National Preserve, or the Santa Fe National Forest in the Los Alamos area.
Nominations for this year's award were reviewed by the Board and we are pleased to give the 2015 Dorothy Hoard Stewardship Award to Dale Coker.
Dale grew up in North Carolina, but fell in love with the Southwest in 1988 when he worked at Mesa Verde National Park with the Student Conservation Association (SCA). He landed a seasonal position with the Bureau of Land Management in Grand Gulch and in the off season attended the National Park Service Law Enforcement Academy. That experience qualified him for a ranger position at Bandelier-and he stayed with the job for more than 20 years. Dale served as the backcountry ranger for the park as well as patrolling the front country and adjacent Department of Energy lands. He spent summers in the Bandelier Wilderness, patrolling on horseback from a base at Capulin Canyon. Remembering how he got his start, he established an SCA program at Bandelier. Dale also successfully enforced the Archeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 by obtaining the conviction of a pot hunter who looted an Ancestral Pueblo site.
More than that, Dale always had his camera with him, and for many years his photographs have been used to demonstrate the beauty of Bandelier and the Los Alamos area. Dale lived in the park and spent many of his days off snapping photos. His publication list is extensive, and he contributed the cover photo for Dorothy's fourth edition of A Guide to Bandelier National Monument.
In the years before his retirement in 2015, Dale supervised trail construction at Bandelier. In the wake of the Las Conchas fire, that assignment was quite challenging! Dale successfully worked with the youth of the Bandelier Conservation Corps to rebuild many of the trails in the park.
The Friends of Bandelier will contribute $1000 in Dale's name to a project at Bandelier of his choice from a list of possible projects provided by Bandelier staff. Dale will also receive a framed print of Dorothy's watercolor of a thunderstorm over Frijoles Canyon.
The Board of the Friends of Bandelier thank Dale Coker for his dedicated service to protect the natural and cultural resources of Bandelier National Monument, for his beautiful, insightful, and often dramatic photos of the beauty of the park, for his trail improvements while working with young people, for his friendship with Dorothy, and for his love of the Bandelier landscape.