Florida Park Service Honors Park Volunteers in Northeast Florida

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Florida Park Service Honors Park Volunteers in Northeast 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 northeast 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 northeast Florida, the following volunteers and CSO were honored:

  • Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park received a Best Historic Long-Term Project Award for their work creating a 40-minute documentary titled, Here is Home: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Cross Creek, highlighting the park and the history of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings homestead. 
  • The Wednesday Work Crew, a dedicated team of 11 volunteers, was recognized for their contributions to the Withlacoochee State Trail. Together, the group has dedicated 12,406 hours of service, and continuously works to maintain the trail and ensure visitor safety. 
  • A group of six volunteers at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park were honored for creating a unique exhibit to educate visitors about the cooperative relationship between American eagles and vultures. The group received funding from the Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park that was used for landscaping and construction materials. 
  • Crystal River Preserve and Crystal River Archaeological state parks' Wednesday Warrior Work Crew, a 14-member volunteer maintenance team, was recognized for their efforts replacing damaged boardwalks and railings, and installing fencing to improve visitor safety. 
  • James Permane received an award for his contributions to the Annual Reenactment of the Battle of Olustee at Olustee Battlefield State Park - the largest Civil War reenactment in the Southeast. James has volunteered at the event since 1985, and serves as a board member of the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park Citizens Support Organization. 
  • Kathryn Askins, president of the Friends of the Crystal River, received an award for her contributions to Crystal River Archaeological State Park. She has dedicated 1,200 hours of service as a museum docent, and trains new volunteers, greets guests at the park's annual Moon Over the Mounds event, leads interpretive tours, and always encourages people in her community to support the park. 
  • Four volunteers were recognized for 20-plus years of service. Margaret Jenson has contributed 25 years at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, educating guests at the park's visitor center. Nelly Broos has contributed 20 years and over 10,000 hours at Rainbow Springs State Park, helping with special events and greeting visitors. Betty Dau has contributed 20 years at Rainbow Springs, serving as the park's volunteer trainer and helping in the gift shop. Marylou Klein has contributed 20 years at Rainbow Springs, leading garden tours, operating information booths and assisting with community events. 

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.