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2009 Kansas Civil Rights Achievement Award

Kansas Civil Rights Achievement Award - 2009 Recipients

Individual Civil Rights Achievement Award - Mark Janzen

Mark A. Janzen is the recipient of the 2009 Kansas Individual Civil Rights Achievement Award for his outreach work with Native Americans in Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Mark has utilized the Manhattan, Kansas, Plant Materials Center (PMC) and Plant Materials Program (PMP) as a means to assist Native Americans in the establishment of cultural plantings on Tribal lands.

Mark provided dogwood seedlings to the Santee Sioux Tribe in Nebraska. In addition, he provided training and plant materials, including native grass, forbs, and shrubs to the Winnebago Tribe for inclusion in their Healing Garden. The Healing Garden and the assistance the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provided was a feature article in NRCS This Week.

A Medicine Wheel is located on the property which houses the Manhattan PMC. Mark worked with the PMC to maintain the Medicine Wheel and updated the literature describing the Medicine Wheel.

In Oklahoma, Mark presented plant materials and NRCS information to the Tribal Environmental Council and Tribal Committee that included Tribal Chiefs from eight different Tribes. Outdoor classroom planning assistance was provided to the Shawnee Tribe and Wyandotte Nation, as well as native grass and forb seed. Mark was a presenter at the “To Bridge a Gap” conference in Durant, Oklahoma. Tribal representatives from the southeastern United States were in attendance. Mark assisted with the collection of red root willow from the Creek Nation. This willow will be grown at the PMC in Kansas and returned to the Creek Nation as a seed source for future plantings.

Mark served as the American Indian/Alaska Native Special Emphasis Program Manager from 2005-2008.

Group Civil Rights Achievement Award - Lake Region RC&D

The Lake Region Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council is the recipient of the 2009 Kansas Group Civil Rights Achievement Award for their contributions to the Adopt-A-Bike program. The group has been participating in the program for the past four years in partnership with the Ellsworth Correctional Facility.

The Lake Region RC&D Council was introduced to the program during a State Association of Kansas RC&D Annual Meeting when the Central Prairie RC&D Area provided a tour of the Ellsworth Correctional Facility where the program originated. The Council made contact with several organizations that assist low income families and minorities to determine interest in their area.

The process begins by collecting used bicycles and transporting them to the Ellsworth Correctional Facility where they are refurbished and returned to the Council. Applications are received from organizations such as Hope House, My Father’s House, and Elizabeth Layton Center. Refurbished bicycles are matched with applicants and redistributed back to Lake Region communities. An estimated 600 bicycles have found a new home since the Council began their involvement in the program. Bicycles have also been given to the homeless shelter, Osawatomie flood victims, and after school programs. Through a Safe-Kids grant, helmets are included with each bicycle.

This program is open to all persons; however, the Council targets persons on fixed income, elderly, youth, minorities, and persons with disabilities.