Category Archives: Volunteer

Eagle Scout Project Complete at Daggerwing Nature Center

Daggerwing Nature Center congratulates Michael Yao, who, after over two years of planning and setbacks with the pandemic, completed his Eagle Scout project at the nature center.  As part of the final project, Michael provided two Wood Duck nest boxes and built and installed seven Screech Owl nest boxes in the natural area. 

The Screech Owl nest boxes are located close enough to the boardwalk for observation and can be seen by guests when walking along the trail.  The Wood Duck and Screech Owl nest boxes will provide places for these species to raise young and will help support the diversity of wildlife around Daggerwing Nature Center. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Sandy Gurian

Sandy Gurian has been a volunteer for 2 years at Green Cay Nature Center. She helps set the tone of the visit for patrons, as she is usually the first person seen by visitors. She greets visitors, assists with basic questions, helps with program reservations and answers the phone. She is very knowledgeable about all operations of the nature center.

Green Cay is one of the most popular places to visit, where the nature center itself can be bustling and busy on any given day! Volunteers highly contribute to their successful engagement with the public on those busy days! Sandy contributes her positive energy, enthusiasm, and attention to detail as well as keeping the front desk clean and neat, making sure safety concerns are addressed, and takes initiative when she sees something needs attention.

Sandy has a great energy and was awarded the engagement champion this year during their volunteer appreciation week. She truly loves welcoming visitors, offering assistance or answering questions. She is always on her feet and wants to learn something new everyday. In addition, she is a great team player and is very flexible with her schedule – always willing to help out when needed. All around, that enthusiasm and teamwork is what makes her a wonderful volunteer at Green Cay.

The biggest personal benefit she’s received as a volunteer with our department? “I’m glad I can give back before I get old. It fulfills me to volunteer my time”. Sandy loves engaging with all visitors at Green Cay Nature Center.

Sandy worked as a secretary for the Allentown School District and retired in 2013. She moved to Florida in 2018 from the Poconos. Sandy loves nature and being outdoors and has many childhood memories of going to the park every day as a kid. She said her family went out for picnics every Sunday to the lake. Sandy loves birds, likes to run, swim and play pickleball. When Sandy is not volunteering at Green Cay Nature Center, she ushers at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton.

PBC Parks Participates in 2021 Great American Cleanup

On April 17 and April 24, 2021, volunteers ventured out to various PBC Parks and removed pounds of litter and recyclables in celebration of Earth Day and the Great American Cleanup initiative. The goal of the Annual Great American Cleanup is to influence individuals to participate in environmental stewardship actions for their local environment while spreading awareness around their local community. With help from Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc., PBC Parks’ Adopt-A-Park partners hosted 13 cleanups from Jupiter Beach Park down to South Inlet Park to participate in the nationwide event.

Depending on which cleanup event they attended, volunteers participated in cleanups by walking on land, paddling on water, or diving underwater to collect litter and debris from PBC parks while simultaneously bringing awareness to pollution and recycling as well as inspiring others to make a difference in the community and environment. Litter and debris most commonly found was glass and aluminum cans/bottles, cigarette butts and an increase in discarded face masks.

Not all was negative reporting though. In fact, one of our Adopt-A-Park partners, Lake Osborne Estates, commented on the excellent job our parks operation staff are doing at keeping our parks clean and attractive for all to enjoy.

Carlos Serrano said, “The clean up went well, and the Parks Department should be commended for the great job it has been doing maintaining the area of John Prince Park along Lake Osborne Drive (we covered from Lantana Road to 12th Avenue South). The grass and landscaping has been well maintained, and we noticed a huge decrease in the amount of bottles, cans, and plastic containers collected this time around.  Also noted some newly planted trees along the path in the vicinity of McMillen Island. Please share the neighborhood’s appreciation to Parks for providing such a fantastic recreational resource to our community!”

Daggerwing Nature Center and Okeeheelee Nature Center participated in the Earth Day and Great American Cleanup celebrations as well. Daggerwing Nature Center started off their Earth Day event hosting a cleanup and Okeeheelee Nature Center partnered with our Adopt-A-Park partner, the National Honor Society at Inlet Grove High School.

Autumn Kioti Horne, Assistant Naturalist at Daggerwing Nature Center said, “I was inspired by the dedication of the volunteers who came out on a hot, sticky Florida morning to help clean up our beautiful wetland habitat.  Most of them were totally new to our nature center, but were avid nature protectors and even knew their way around micro plastics!  Do you know how difficult it is it pick up each tiny piece of a shredded plastic bag? They do, and they diligently braved the heat to get every last piece they could. Thank you Earth Warriors!”

Long time Adopt-A-Park partner, Boca Save Our Beaches, hosted a beach cleanup at South Inlet Park. Boca Save Our Beaches hosts various eco-events throughout the year. They also contribute to weekly water quality testing at South Inlet Park with Boca High environmental club supporting the Blue Water Task Force’s nationwide mission for clean water quality in recreational areas.

Thanks to our valued partners, Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc. and the Beach Bucket Foundation for their continued support in helping to maintain the beauty of PBC Parks and providing supplies and volunteers to celebrate and take care of our natural environments. Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc. coordinates the Great American Cleanup project in Palm Beach County with the help of the Solid Waste Authority. The Beach Bucket Foundation has installed self-guided cleanup stations at various public beach accesses throughout Palm Beach County and hosted a water cleanup around Peanut Island.  

The Great American Cleanup brought 409 youth age to senior citizen volunteers to PBC Parks where 1,500 pounds of trash was collected and reported. These volunteers’ efforts exemplify the community’s dedication and desire to keep their favorite recreation and nature sanctuaries clean and pristine for years to come!

Special thanks to the following Adopt-A-Park partners who donated 1,241 hours of service:

-The Beach Bucket Foundation
-Boca Save Our Beaches
-Caloosa Cleanup Crew
-Lake Osborne Estates
-Loggerhead MarineLife Center
-Pratt & Whitney
-Pura Vida Divers
-National Honor Society at Inlet Grove High School
-Sea Turtle Adventures
-South Florida Spearfishing Club

Volunteer Spotlight: Eddie Ott

Edward “Eddie” Ott has been a volunteer for 11 years at John Prince Golf Learning Center. He picks up golf balls on the range and helps keep the fire ants under control by surveying the property in the hunt for anthills, so they can extinguish them before they cause patrons harm. He also helps keep the golf greens, green aprons (collars) and fairways in tiptop shape by fixing ball markers and filling divots, keeping them as some of the best in South Florida.

Fellow staff, volunteers and patrons have always said that he has been a pleasure to talk to due to his wealth of experiences and knowledge.

Eddie has always been a very diligent working volunteer. He is kind, optimistic and very cordial to all and a role model to the whole facility.

The biggest personal benefit he’s received as a volunteer with our department? “I get to play golf and work with Geoff!”

Eddie started playing golf at the age of 42 and moved down to Florida from Ohio when he was 50. His previous occupation was an auto mechanic. What’s most interesting is he is 97 years old, who calls 85 year olds ‘kids’. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Karen Gray, Friends of Jupiter Beach

25 years ago, Karen Gray and other Jupiter Beach residents started Friends of Jupiter Beach (FJB). The founder being Anita Lankler and the executive director, Karen Gray have always had a passion for keeping their home clean and educating others about conservation and stewardship for the environment.

One of the main incentives for creating FJB, other than environmental benefits, is the agreement to delegate a portion of Jupiter Beach as a dog friendly beach, where dogs can roam free off-leash. This group has continuously maintained the beach’s cleanliness as well as enforcing the rules of the dog-friendly beach with pet owners. FJB has provided each beach access with a dispenser of pet waste bags and signs clearly conveying to cleanup after your pet.

 From the effects of the pandemic in 2020, FJB had to cancel a few cleanups this year, but continued to perform these monthly cleanups in a safe and socially-distanced manner after restrictions let up. Karen does an incredible job organizing volunteer meetings at separate locations with no more than 10 volunteers at each access. Even with the restrictions, FJB still manages to safely host up to 100 volunteers dispersed through each cleanup. In 2020, this group has managed to clean up and document approximately 1,287 pounds of garbage and 879 pounds of recyclables from Ocean Cay Park and Jupiter Beach.

A huge thanks goes out to Karen and all the volunteers that participate in the monthly Friends of Jupiter Beach Cleanups hosted every first Saturday of the month.

DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour: John Alden DuBois

The DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour – Fireside Chat series brings you short stories from relatives and friends of the DuBois family. In this episode, John Alden DuBois, the grandson of Harry and Susan DuBois, shares a little bit about how his grandfather put food on the table for his family.

Volunteer spotlight: The clean-up kids

On October 25, a dedicated group known as ‘The Clean-Up Kids’ participated in a beach cleanup on Ocean Ridge Hammock Park, where they filled up six trash bags! The total weight of trash collected was 90 pounds, and the total weight of recyclables collected was five lbs.

The Clean-Up Kids is a volunteer group started by young parent Kailley Catalo and her husband. They’re dedicated to teaching children lifelong lessons to ensure a clean future, including our collective impact on the planet.

“We believe it is never too early to start teaching & participating in bettering ourselves, the planet & our community. We are developing more creative ideas to help them give back to our community such as organizing park cleanups, feeding the homeless, book exchanges/donations, mini-marathon to raise awareness to different issues, adopt sea turtles, clean local fire trucks and more. We believe in community and that ‘it’s takes a village to raise a child’ so as parents it’s super valuable for us to teach them the power and hard work of giving back to the community.” 

DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour Fireside Chat: Skip & Geri Gladwin

The DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour – Fireside Chat series brings you short stories from relatives and friends of the DuBois family. In this episode, Skip and Geri Gladwin, siblings who lived in the home as kids, talk about their experience living in the home and area.

DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour Fireside Chat: Ruth Nelms Merchant

The DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour – Fireside Chat series brings you short stories from relatives and friends of the DuBois family. In this episode, Ruth Nelms Merchant, the granddaughter of Harry and Susan DuBois, talks about how her grandmother became known as “The Honey Lady.”