April 2014 Volunteer of the Month
Cindy Ardecki at work on the trail. Photo by Noel Freeman.
In 2004, Cindy Ardecki set out from Mount Katahdin to through-hike the AT. Along the way, her hiking companions gave her the trail name “Song” because of her propensity to begin singing when the mood strikes. Her hike was cut short by an injury, but the following year she picked up where she left off and completed the trek to Georgia. Wanting to give something back to the hiking community, she joined PATC in 2005 and began looking for volunteer opportunities.
Cindy soon learned of a fledgling trail crew in Prince William Forest Park named the Spooky Beavers. She started actively participating in the crew work trips and became the overseer of The Crossing Trail. In addition to working on many trail projects in the park, she has helped lead public events including National Trails Day and National Public Lands Day. She has also worked on constructing a new section of the nearby Potomac Heritage Trail.
In the spring of 2010, Cindy expanded her volunteer involvement to the North District of Shenandoah National Park where she is a regular member of the Hoodlums trail crew and participates in the park’s week-long summer crews. Since 2011 she has been the co-overseer of the Indian Run Maintenance Hut and its access road and spring trail.
Cindy continually adds to her skill set by attending trail maintaining workshops. In the fall of 2012, she completed the Park Service chainsaw certification course. She has also attained Leave No Trace Instructor and wilderness first aid certifications. In 2013 she was a recipient of the Hawksbill Award.
Along with volunteering for PATC, Cindy also volunteers with the American Hiking Society. She has worked on week-long trail maintenance projects in Southwest Virginia, Idaho and Alaska.
Cindy works with Prince William County Public Schools as a special education teacher. She takes advantage of her summers off to travel and hike. In 2012 she completed the El Camino de Santiago and Tour du Mont Blanc hikes in Europe. Cindy also enjoys kayaking, running, and sewing. Her favorite trail tool is the Pulaski.
–Submitted by Noel Freeman
To nominate someone for Volunteer of the Month, email
Rick Canter at firstname.lastname@example.org.