FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 2, 2012
FLORIDA PARK SERVICE HONORS VOLUNTEERS
~Statewide appreciation picnics held to honor volunteers and present awards~
Florida State Parks volunteers from the central region of the state enjoy an appreciation picnic at Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka on Saturday, Feb. 18.
- The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Florida Park Service is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Friends of Florida State Parks
(FFSP) Volunteer Awards. Winners have been recognized during five special volunteer appreciation picnics throughout the state.
“I’m so proud that we take the time to tell our volunteers how much we appreciate them and their immeasurable contribution to Florida’s state park system,” said DEP’s Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione. “They give their time, expertise and passion to Florida’s natural and cultural resources and these picnics are the perfect opportunity to tell our volunteers thank you.”
The Florida Park Service hosts annual volunteer appreciation picnics in each of the five state park regions to recognize the invaluable contribution of the members of the Florida State Parks volunteer corps, which includes more than 7,200 regular service volunteers. Regular service volunteers are those who regularly commit to working in state parks, from staffing a ranger station, driving a tour boat or supporting land management activities. Last year, volunteers contributed nearly 1.3 million hours to the state park system.
During the volunteer appreciation picnics, the Friends of Florida State Parks, Inc. presented their annual awards to individuals and groups whose volunteerism has made a significant impact in the past year. The winners are selected via nomination by the FFSP Recognition Committee in eight categories. The 2011 winners are:
Citizen Support Organization of the Year
The Friends of Wakulla Springs State Park, Inc., Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
CSO/Park Short Term Project of the Year
Manatee Viewing and Interpretive Overlook, Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park; and Wesley House Column Restoration Project, Eden Gardens State Park
CSO/Park Long Term Project of the Year
La Chua Trail Improvements, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Special Volunteer Event of the Year
FireFest: Prescribed Fire Awareness Festival, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Volunteer Team of the Year
Birch Resident Volunteer Team, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
Female Youth Volunteer of the Year
Teakahla WhiteCloud, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
Male Youth Volunteer of the Year
Casey DeGiantomasso , Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
Adult Volunteer of the Year
Myra Rhodes, Henderson Beach State Park
Friends of Florida State Parks, Inc. is a nonprofit citizen support organization formed in support of the entire Florida State Park system. The FFSP is recognized as the leading advocate of the Florida Park Service to ensure the existence of the Real Florida for future generations by: preserving and protecting state parks; educating residents and visitors about the importance of state parks; creating community support for state parks. FFSP provides financial support to the state park system which supplements, not supplants, state funding and ensures inclusion of, and accessibility to, the full enjoyment of the parks' natural and cultural resources for all persons.