Fall 2015 Volunteer eNews

Updates, Opportunities, Hours

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Oct/Nov 2015

Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites

> IN THIS ISSUE: Vivamus facilisis odio lectus, Vivamus facilisis, Vivamus facilisis odio lectus

miss you

I sure have missed you!

Dear Volunteers and Hosts,

I know, I know...June was the last volunteer eNewsletter. I haven't forgotten about you, I promise. In October 2014 I was tasked with a new challenge of taking on the role of the Project Manager for the Fort Yargo State Park Master Plan in addition to my role as the state’s volunteer coordinator. Juggling both roles has been tumultuous and I have had to alter some of the procedures to make sure that both jobs could be performed as successfully as possible.

To bring everyone back to speed on the volunteer work in Georgia State Parks, here’s what has happened since May:

· In May we had a Rivers Alive and Sweetwater Creek State Park cleanup with the DNR Commissioner Mark Williams and his staff, Environmental Protection Division staff, Georgia State Parks Administrative staff, and the new Law Enforcement Division staff. It was a fun and dirty day of getting out of the office for these busy bodies that are usually in professional attire mucking around and getting to enjoy the nature and beautiful park that is just a few miles from the State Capital.

· In June we had our National Trails Day with state-wide participation.

· July we signed on our first hosts for Sweetwater Creek State Park to keep the new Yurt Village and camping area maintained.

· August we had our Director and Friends of Georgia State Parks Conference where all the park managers and assistant managers spent 2 days working together on new policies/procedures and networking. These conferences only occur every 2 years and are a unique opportunity not to be missed. It is the one chance to get the whole state park management in one room, it is quite a feat!

· September had me traveling the state and training new managers and assistant managers on how to utilize the volunteer and host programs. September was also Your State Parks Day! September 26 was a state-wide event to invite community members out to parks to volunteer.  We had 1800 volunteers roughing it through the rain and drizzle to participate in building pollinator gardens at our parks!

· We have submitted 4 applications with the American Hiking Society for their Volunteer Vacations groups.  This program offers volunteers free accommodations for 1 week in trade for traveling to the park and volunteering their time.  It opens up our parks to a diverse group that may or may not have experienced Georgia State Parks on their own.  2016 will be our 4th year participating in this program.

· October Alternative Fall Break – Austin Peay State University –Last week we had 6 students from APSU drive down from north of Memphis, Tennessee to help out at James H. Floyd State Park.  While they were on the park, they volunteered 78 hours and widened 3 miles of steep trail to make it more accessible for park guests. Some of the members that participated had not camped before, nor kayaked.  We were able to provide those experiences for them while they helped make the park trails a safer environment. Win-win!  (Pictured below) Thank you APSU!

· In November I will be presenting at the AORE conference in Atlanta on Access and Stewardship on public lands.

· December Alternative Winter Break – Magnolia Springs State Park will be hosting a group of college students from the University of Illinois Chicago. They will be working on clearing debris from a tornado and 2 ice storms that have hit the park in the last 5 years. The earthworks and the trails there need some TLC that this enthusiastic group will provide.

All in all it has been a busy time, and I have missed our communications!


Host Openings

Host Availability now through Summer 2015:

Fort Morris Historic Site

General Coffee State Park

George T Bagby Marina Host

SAM Shortline Train Host

Magnolia Springs Campground Host

Mistletoe Maintenance Host

Stephen C Foster Campground Hosts

Unicoi Campground Hosts

Vogel Campground Hosts

Watson Mill Equestrian Host


It's leaf season! Check out the beautiful photo above taken at Amicalola Falls last weekend by Samantha Taylor!

Upcoming Volunteer Events

High Falls Spooky Halloween Volunteers

Saturday, Oct 24, 2015 6 PM to 9:30 PM     High Falls State Park - Jackson, GA

    Volunteers needed to help build campfire and pass out s’mores. 478-993-3053.

Skidaway Narrows Clean Up 

Sunday, Nov 1, 2015 9 AM to 12 PM     Skidaway Island State Park - Savannah, GA

    Help us to clean up the Skidaway Narrows and Butterbean Beach. Bring your own boat, kayak or canoe. Limited number of kayaks and canoes will be provided. Walking clean-up volunteers are also welcome. Please register before Oct. 31st. 912-598-2300.

Trails Work Day

Sunday, Nov 1, 2015 1 PM to 4 PM     Sweetwater Creek State Park - Lithia Springs, GA

    Join us for a volunteer work day performing general trail maintenance on the beautiful trails of the park. Bring gloves, water, comfortable work clothes, and closed-toe, sturdy shoes. Registration encouraged at 770-732-5871. Meet at the Visitor's Center. $5 parking. 770-732-5871.

Volunteer Day - Decorate Christmas Parade Float

Friday, Nov 6, 2015 9 AM to 2 PM     Fort Mountain State Park - Chatsworth, GA

    Volunteers will help decorate the Chatsworth Christmas Parade float. Any volunteers willing to ride the float in the parade on December 7th would be greatly appreciated. Please let a staff member know of your availability. $5 parking. 706-422-1932.

Volunteer Work Day

Saturday, Nov 14, 2015 9 AM     Don Carter State Park - Gainesville, GA

    Come join the Friends of Don Carter State Park every second Saturday of the month to participate in a variety of volunteer projects. Meet at park's visitor center. 678-450-7726.

Bike Trails Work and Ride

Saturday, Nov 14, 2015 9 AM to 1 PM     Hard Labor Creek State Park - Rutledge, GA

    Join park staff and volunteers for some time spent working on the bike trail, and a guided trail ride afterward. If you assist with trail work there is no charge for the ride. 706-557-3001.

Winter's Coming Volunteer Day

Saturday, Nov 14, 2015 12:30 PM to 3 PM     New Echota Historic Site - Calhoun, GA

    We'll be pruning the fruit trees and adding fertilizer, tearing down some beaver dams and cleaning out the Bluebird and Wood Duck nesting boxes in preparation for winter. 706-624-1321.

Volunteer Day / Heath Lake

Saturday, Nov 14, 2015 10 AM to 12 PM     Rocky Mountain Recreation & Public Fishing Area - Rome, GA

    Please join our Ranger in helping keep the shoreline clean around the Heath Lake. Trash bags will be provided. Meet in the Heath Lake parking lot 706-802-5087.

Volunteer Days

Sunday, Nov 15, 2015 9 AM to 12 PM     Black Rock Mountain State Park - Mountain City, GA

    Come out and join us for fun and work! Projects may include clearing and maintaining trails, grounds cleaning and landscaping, painting, etc. Bring work gloves and a can do attitude! $5 parking. 706-746-2141.


Hours and More

Logging Your Hours

We rolled out the new volunteer hour tracking option in December 2014. It took a little longer than expected but now the 2014 hours have been transferred over and all incentives earned since then have been mailed out. 

Here is the website for more information on Volunteer Hours and how incentives are earned.

You can see how many hours you have recorded or were transferred over from 2014 by logging into your time sheet.http://www.trackitforward.com/site/georgia-state-park-and-historic-sites-volunteers-and-hosts/timesheet

Using this neat Stats feature, you can see where you are in the overall documentation of hours for volunteers all over the state: https://www.trackitforward.com/site/georgia-state-park-and-historic-sites-volunteers-and-hosts/stats

Thank you for your patience as we transitioned to this new tracking software. Your information is now accessible by you, park managers as well as myself. However, it is completely private and not accessible by anyone outside of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites. 

Volunteers Defined: We love and need them all!

Community Volunteers-Help on a day-to-day basis at a Park as they are available. Our community volunteers help with leading hikes, helping with maintenance, assisting with the visitor or retail center, guide new visitors to park activities and locations. Those volunteering more than once per month or planning to volunteer more than 20 hours per year need to update registration.

Hosts (Campground, Yurt, Maintenance, Golf, Train)-Stay in their personal RV at designated free Host Site for 2-6 months in exchange for a minimum of 24 hours of volunteer work.  Host duties include: visitor assistance and maintenance.  All hosts are required to update registration to still be considered for hosting.

Group Volunteers-This is for Churches, Corporations, Scouts and Universities who want a tailor-made project that will strengthen the group as individuals as well as a team morale while assisting Georgia State Parks. Only the group leader will need to be registered in our system.

How are we doing?

In order for Georgia State Parks to continue to thrive and grow, even in these lean budget times, we need to get feedback from those that utilize our services and Parks. As Volunteers and Hosts, you have the same rights and anonymity in park observations and feedback as our Park Staff.  Please use this quick survey form to share your experiences with us.

Thanks for reading!  Please feel free to share with others.  If you need to contact me, Georgia State Parks Volunteer Coordinator: nyleta.wallace@dnr.ga.gov

As always, thank you for being a steward for Georgia State Parks!

Have a great day!

Helpful Links:

eNews Archived - http://gastateparks.org/volunteer/news

Log your Hours - http://gastateparks.org/volunteer/hours

See your recorded hours - http://www.trackitforward.com/site/georgia-state-park-and-historic-sites-volunteers-and-hosts/timesheet

Volunteer Hour Stats - https://www.trackitforward.com/site/georgia-state-park-and-historic-sites-volunteers-and-hosts/stats