Five members of the Missouri-Kansas Riverbend Chapter of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation were recently honored by the National Park Service for their volunteer work to enhance the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. The 4,900-mile trail of the 1803-06 expedition follows the Missouri River through the Greater Kansas City Area.
At the chapter’s semiannual meeting in February, attended by 56 members, Karla V. Sigala, the National Park Service’s interpretive specialist for the historic trail, presented volunteer pins and award certificates to Yvonne Kean, Karen McKeever, Jimmy Mohler, Diane Pepper Pickman, and Dan Sturdevant.
“A lot of important work happens that would not happen without the efforts of volunteers,” said Sigala, who is based in the National Park Services’ Omaha, Neb., headquarters for the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.
The value of volunteerism for the national trail and local trail segments is significant. On the national stage, for example, 2,600 volunteers from 52 Lewis and Clark sites and partnerships contributed 164,593 hours of service in the fiscal year 2019, an equivalent of 78 full-time NPS staff members and a labor value of more than $4 million, according to the recently released National Park Service annual report.
The backgrounds of volunteers widely range from people with a personal interest in history, college history professors and researchers to interpretive re-enactors, biologists, natural resources specialists, and, among many other fields, students and educators in public and private schools.
Here’s a brief look at the volunteer work of each of the five Riverbend members:
Yvonne Kean is the Riverbend Chapter treasurer and former president. She is also the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation’s treasurer, a position she has held for three years. She is responsible for email communications that alert Riverbend members about programs and communications. She had a primary leadership role in the planning and hosting of the national foundation’s 2015 annual meeting in Kansas City, Mo.
Karen McKeever provides extensive administrative services for Riverbend’s programs and communication efforts. She prepares mailings for events, maintains records of event reservations and coordinates with restaurants where meetings are held.
Jimmy Mohler is the chairperson of a Riverbend committee that oversees, maintains and replaces historical roadside displays and other wayside information related to the expedition. This is a hefty volunteer workload. There are dozens of Lewis and Clark displays in Riverbend’s geographical region, which includes large portions of northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri in and around the Greater Kansas City Area.
Diane Pepper Pickman arranged for a successful Riverbend meeting in June 2019 in Atchison, Kansas. She also volunteers on communication efforts. She played a primary role for the Riverbend Chapter in planning and hosting the national foundation’s 2015 meeting.
Dan Sturdevant is the Riverbend Chapter president. He is the former president of the national foundation. He has a leadership role in recruiting new members to the Riverbend Chapter and the national foundation. In addition, he is a frequent speaker to local groups interested in Lewis and Clark. He had a leadership role in the foundation’s 2015 national foundation meeting in Kansas City.
- Learn more about the Riverbend Chapter.
- How to join the Riverbend Chapter—it’s a fun group devoted to Lewis and Clark history and projects.
- How to become a National Park Service volunteer for the Lewis and Clark Trail.