Florida Park Service Honors Park Volunteers in Central Florida

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Florida Park Service Honors Park Volunteers in Central Florida

~Florida volunteers contribute more than 1.2 million hours of service annually~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In celebration of National Volunteer Month, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is honoring central Florida individuals and groups with 2018 Volunteer Appreciation Awards for their invaluable contributions at Florida State Parks.

More than 14,400 state park volunteers and 82 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 central Florida, the following volunteers and CSOs were honored:

  • Dr. Bob Busha received an award for Outstanding Adult Volunteer for his contribution to visitor services at the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. Dr. Busha has assisted with trail maintenance at the greenway for four years and helped develop an interpretive trail highlighting the unique history of the greenway. 
  • Two volunteers were recognized for 20-plus years of service. Dr. Doug Shearer was honored for contributing 20 years at the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. As a retired veterinarian, Dr. Shearer often helps with equestrian events as well as equestrian trail maintenance. John Leaman, a founding member of the Wekiva Wilderness Trust, was honored for completing 25 years of service at Wekiwa Springs State Park.
  • James and Pam Carter received an award for Outstanding Team of Two in the category of Park Maintenance. The Carters have contributed over 7,600 hours since 2015, picking up litter and maintaining the grounds at Katie's Landing, located at Rock Springs Run State Reserve and Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park. 
  • A group of volunteers from Sebastian Inlet State Park and St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park known as "The Show Team" were recognized for their work representing the Florida Park Service at 14 different local events and festivals over the last year. The group shares information about natural resources, volunteer opportunities and more, and have recruited a large majority of the 250 volunteers at Sebastian Inlet State Park. 
  • Friends of Gamble Rogers State Park received an award for partnering with the Marine Discovery Center to create the Shuck and Share Oyster Program. In 2018, 74,000 pounds of oyster shells were collected and recycled to create living shorelines at the park. 
  • Friends of Colt Creek State Park were honored for enhancing visitor experiences through the contribution of a lakefront gazebo, which is used for weddings, gatherings and photo opportunities. Funds for the gazebo were raised by Friends Group memberships and donations. 

Congratulations to the individuals and groups honored during the statewide 2018 Volunteer Appreciation Awards, sponsored by the Florida State Parks Foundation. Find more information about the 40-plus volunteers and Friends Groups that received statewide awards on the Volunteer Appreciation page of FloridaStateParks.org

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