Florida Park Service Honors Park Volunteers in South Florida

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Florida Park Service Honors Park Volunteers
in South 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 South 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 support individual state parks or groups of parks.

In South Florida, eight volunteer recognition honors were awarded:

  • Jim Ellis won the Parks Director's Special Volunteer Service Award at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Jim works tirelessly as president of the Friends of Birch State Park. The CSO has renovated and repaired park amenities, created a meditation garden and cleaned out Long Lake.
  • Motorola Solutions won Corporate Contributor of the Year at Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park. More than 65 Motorola employees and corporate officers conducted their annual work day cleaning the beach and planting native trees. A few days later, the company surprised the park with a $5,000 donation.
  • Nancy Olson won Volunteer of the Year for Administration at Bahia Honda State Park. She has served over 1,500 lifetime hours at Florida State Parks. Among her accomplishments at Bahia Honda, Nancy created a database for a volunteer handbook, and she learned and promoted the Junior Ranger program.
  • Susan Kolterman won Volunteer of the Year for Resource Management at Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park. She has contributed greatly to the elimination of invasive plants and the addition of native plants on park lands. She is an ambassador for the park, serving as a speaker and nature guide.
  • Bob and Marteen Dillon won Team of 2 of the Year for Resource Management at Bahia Honda State Park. They have worked on invasive species removal for four months each year for the past five years. They have rid the island of more than 1,800 iguanas.
  • Three volunteers were honored for contributing 20-plus years of service. Honors went to Janet Heaton for 25 years at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park; and Carol Herzog for 21 years and Henry Maursey for 20 years at Savannas Preserve 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 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.