Last month’s article spotlighted many of the volunteer awards presented at the Friends of the Forest annual meeting.  This month we are featuring the recipient of the prestigious President’s Award.

The President’s Award is an award of special recognition to a member who has made an outstanding contribution to the Friends’ volunteer work. It is awarded at the discretion of the President and is not awarded every year.

The 2021 President’s Award recipient is Jerry Checchia.  Friends of the Forest President, Annie Glickstein, offered these words at the ceremony: “It is my honor and great pleasure to give Jerry this President’s Award. I am so grateful that Jerry has chosen Friends of the Forest as one of his volunteer organizations where he likes to spend time helping out. Jerry or “Jerry the Younger” (JTY) or “Check” or whatever we all choose to call him is that genuinely nice guy who steps in and helps. He’s the go-to guy. I couldn’t ask to work with a kinder volunteer. Some of the things that he has worked on are Trail Maintenance &Construction, graffiti removal, the visitor center gardens, gathering rocks, opening up the canyon after the fires, helping on committees, and the list goes on. I should include that his dog, Chase, is Jerry’s partner in this award. Where Jerry goes, Chase is not far behind. So much work gets done with little aggravation. Jerry is the first to put in a good word and ward off confrontation. He’s great at speaking with visitors to the Red Rocks. Jerry is a true Friend of the Forest and a friend.”

Since receiving this award, Jerry has spearheaded a new project for Friends of the Forest.  He is now working with ADOT to adopt a portion of 89A in Oak Creek Canyon.  Under his guidance, members of Friends of the Forest will be removing trash in this area several times each year.

Friends of the Forest is a unique organization founded in 1994. As part of our partnership as stewards of National Forest lands in the Sedona area, we offer members many opportunities for personal enrichment and public service. We learn from each other, from Forest Service personnel, and from experts in wilderness skills, archaeology, geology, flora, fauna and wildlife.  Whether you can help by becoming a member or making a contribution, you will be directly helping to preserve one of the most beautiful natural resources in the country.

Friends of the Forest is a nonprofit, nonpolitical organization, with membership open to all who are dedicated to maintaining, protecting, and restoring the scenic beauty of our National Forest lands in the Sedona area for the enjoyment and use of present and future generations.

By building a partnership with the Red Rock Ranger District of the Coconino National Forest, Friends of the Forest volunteers help fill the gap between needs and resources.  We provide teamwork and financial resources to assist the Forest Service in its day-to-day operations.

To learn more about Friends of the Forest, how to join, how to assist with its projects or just donate go to