Florida Park Service Honors Park Volunteers in Southwest Florida

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Florida Park Service Honors Park Volunteers
in Southwest Florida

~Volunteers contribute more than 1.2 million hours of service annually across the state~

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In celebration of National Volunteer Week, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is honored to recognize southwest Florida individuals and groups with 2017 Volunteer Appreciation Awards for their invaluable contributions at Florida State Parks.

More than 14,400 state park volunteers and 80 Friends groups, or citizen support organizations (CSOs), contribute over 1.2 million hours of service annually. From painting cabins to leading nature hikes, volunteers help protect resources and improve visitor experiences at Florida's 175 state parks and trails. In addition to individual volunteers, a network of CSOs supports individual state parks or groups of parks.

In southwest Florida, eight volunteer recognition honors were awarded:

  • Karen Cloud was honored as Volunteer of the Year for Visitor Service at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park. She initiates and leads park events that attract large numbers of visitors, and she helps with outreach events and CSO sponsored festivals.
  • The Friends of Cayo Costa State Park won for Overall Special Event of the Year. The park is only accessible by boat, but the CSO partnered with ferry operators, vendors, park staff and volunteers to host over 200 visitors at the Celebrate Cayo Costa event.
  • Highlands Hammock State Park won for Historical Special Event of the Year for the 32nd annual Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Festival. Almost 150 park staff and volunteers arranged for folk bands, tram rides and more.
  • Philip and Ann (Mickie) Anderson won Team of 2 of the Year for Visitor Service at Myakka River State Park. They offered outstanding service as volunteer campground hosts at the park. Now they have taken on a leadership role as volunteer liaisons between the park and the Friends of Myakka River.
  • Tom Adler, Mike Anderson, Barry Blitvich, Earl Cross, Steven Lemonds and Shaun Suydam won Team of 3-Plus of the Year for Visitor Service at Myakka River State Park. The volunteer maintenance team completed a historic preservation project on an original 1930s CCC structure, which now houses the park museum and visitors center.
  • Three volunteers were honored for contributing 20-plus years of service. Cathy Moore was honored for 32 years at Little Manatee River State Park; Myra Coggeshall for 20 years at Highlands Hammock State Park; and Bob Sendry for 21 years at Oscar Scherer State Park.

Congratulations to the individuals and groups honored during the statewide 2017 Volunteer Awards, sponsored by the Friends of Florida State Parks. Find more information about the more than 40 volunteers and Friends groups that received statewide awards on the Volunteer Appreciation page of FloridaStateParks.org. Additional recipients will be featured in coming months.

Volunteers support and improve Florida State Parks with their time and talent. Learn how to get involved.