|Streamway Plaque to Be Placed in Honor of Frank Rollf on June 23|
A bronze plaque honoring a longtime volunteer who started the Johnson County Park and Recreation District's Eastern Bluebird Recovery Program is scheduled to be placed on the Mill Creek Streamway Park's Gary L. Haller Trail at approximately 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 23.
The plaque honors Frank Rollf of Merriam and was first unveiled during the District Board's March 23 meeting, when Rollf was honored during a special presentation and reception which drew more than 50 people. A framed version of the plaque's text with a photo of Rollf has also been placed in Shawnee Mission Park's John Barkley Visitors Center.
Placement of the plaque within the Mill Creek Streamway Park was selected by Rollf with the assistance of Streamway Park Manager Eddie Coffey. The plaque will be located approximately 1.5 miles south of the 19405 Midland Drive trail access point and will be placed near the high point of the trail across from an existing plaque honoring former JCPRD Director Gary Haller. No ceremony is planned for the plaque placement, but Rollf will be taken to the site later in the day.
The plaque recounts in text (below) the story of Rollf and his bluebird efforts, which began in 1989 with 16 nesting boxes along the Mill Creek Streamway Park. His efforts, which included seeking donated materials and assistance, as well as weekly monitoring of the bluebird boxes, resulted in 89 fledglings that first year. In 2004, the program had grown to 326 nesting boxes in six parks, which produced 1,674 fledglings.
"The result of what Frank has done is that the citizen who comes as a visitor to our park can almost be assured of seeing a bluebird - something that wouldn't have happened 20 years ago," said Superintendent of Park Safety and Interpretation Mike Ray.
As the program experienced success and hundreds of bluebirds began to be fledged each year, Rollf persuaded District officials to petition the state of Kansas for a special designation. In January 1999, State Legislators approved a resolution naming the District as the "Bluebird Capital of Kansas."
Beginning last year, Rollf has moved into more of an advisory role with the bluebird. 2004 was the first year in which he handed over monitoring of bluebird boxes on the Streamway trail to another volunteer.
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Wording of Bronze Plaque:
Frank Rollf – Friend of the Bluebirds
This plaque commemorates the work of Frank Rollf, founder of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District’s Bluebird Recovery Program. He began the project in 1989 by installing 16 nest boxes along the Mill Creek Streamway Park, resulting in 89 fledglings. By 2004, the efforts of Rollf and many others he inspired and trained had resulted in over 250 additional boxes in use in six District parks, with over one thousand bluebirds fledged annually.
Due to the thousands of volunteer hours Rollf donated to acquire materials, construct, install, maintain, and monitor these boxes, the Bluebird Recovery Program experienced phenomenal success. As hundreds of bluebirds began to be fledged yearly, Rollf persuaded District Board Members and officials to petition the State of Kansas for a special designation honoring this effort. On January 28, 1999, State Resolution No. 1806 was passed designating Johnson County Park and Recreation District as the "Bluebird Capital of Kansas."
Frank Rollf’s love of the Eastern Bluebird began after his retirement as a union pipe fitter, and grew out of the profound respect for nature that he had observed in his parents when he was growing up in Ozark, Arkansas.
It is because of Rollf’s devotion to the care and preservation of the Eastern Bluebird that park patrons have the exceptional opportunity to observe the breathtaking beauty of these birds on nearly every visit to the park.
With heartfelt gratitude, this plaque is dedicated to Frank Rollf, Friend of the Bluebirds, March 23, 2005.