Category Archives: Volunteer

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.”

DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour: Episode 6

In this six-part series, DuBois Pioneer Home docents present virtual tours about the historic home, located inside DuBois Park and operated by PBC Parks. Each episode briefly covers a different topic; in Episode Six, docent Denise Vogel talks about the bedroom and some interesting items from the time period, including a rope bed, early 1900’s sewing machine, and an armoire.

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 shares her story about how her parents met.

Volunteer Spotlight: Todd Greenstein

Todd Greenstein has been a volunteer for 6 years at Daggerwing Nature Center. Todd is an office assistant and his volunteer duties include data entry & management, administrative tasks, troubleshooting tech as needed for nature center staff and pretty much everything that is behind the scenes of the nature center. Todd is a tremendous assistant for Daggerwing Nature Center staff. He is detail oriented, tech savvy, dedicated, reliable and educated.

The biggest personal benefit he’s received as a volunteer with our department? “Working with wonderful staff. Getting to use my knowledge to help south Florida nature.” Todd has been volunteering his whole life. He spent 10 years volunteering for the Red Cross. His role was to make sure the St. Louis Fire Department and disaster action team got the correct address where fires were. He has also volunteered with AmeriCorps, the Citizen Emergency Response Team, St. Louis Science Center and the Citizens Police Academy. He is also a founding member of the St. Louis Aviation Museum.

DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour: Episode 5

In this six-part series, DuBois Pioneer Home docents present virtual tours about the historic home, located inside DuBois Park and operated by PBC Parks. Each episode briefly covers a different topic; in Episode Five, docent Dorothy Cunningham talks about the layout of the home as it was originally built, as well as how construction has changed the home throughout the years.

DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour: Episode 4

In this six-part series, DuBois Pioneer Home docents present virtual tours about the historic home, located inside DuBois Park and operated by PBC Parks. Each episode briefly covers a different topic; in Episode Four, docent Donna Adair discusses the role of Native Americans – particularly the Seminole tribe – in Pioneer life, as well as the kitchen and how it was set up and used by the DuBois family.

Volunteer Spotlight: Brad Davis

Brad Davis has been a volunteer for 10 years at the CMAA Therapeutic Recreation (TR) Complex. Brad works in all areas of the Therapeutic Recreation Complex. He helps assist at the reception desk with greeting customers, provides information about the facility and answers phone calls, and he helps with cleaning and setting up equipment for events and programs.

Brad is one of biggest advocates for Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation, Special Olympics Florida & Arts4All FL-Palm Beach County. He is always willing to assist with activities, events and campaigns, and truly has an effect on everyone he talks to, even if it is just putting a smile on their face.

The biggest personal benefit he’s received as a volunteer with our department? Building relationships with all of the staff and customers at TR. He loves to be around people, he loves to help others, and he loves to advocate for TR. Volunteering with Palm Beach County provides him with purpose and excitement.

Brad is a great volunteer at TR because he is flexible and willing to help with anything. Not only is Brad a helpful part of our team, but he encourages friendship and teamwork among everyone.

Outside of volunteering, Brad works at Publix and loves to participate in Special Olympics Florida and Arts4All FL-Palm Beach County. Brad also loves to sing, dance, swim and play tennis!

Volunteer Spotlight: Meghan and Taylor Morrison

Volunteer Spotlight: Meghan and Taylor Morrison have been volunteers at Okeeheelee Nature Center (ONC) for 6 months, where they work as greeters, education docents and animal caretakers. Providing quality animal care is necessary at ONC for their animals to remain healthy, especially since they have 23 animals inside the nature center to manage. Volunteering requires extensive training, detailed reporting and teamwork. Volunteers spend their shifts cleaning enclosures and preparing food amongst other tasks like prepping for upcoming programs and events, including prepping their arts and craft activities. Ultimately, there isn’t much Taylor and Meghan haven’t done for the nature center and it’s even more amazing that they have learned it all so quickly and accomplished so much in the 6 months they have been with ONC. “Their position title should really be All-Around Volunteer!”

They have made an impact at ONC with the absolute love they both have for the nature center animals and willingness to drop everything in their personal lives to come in and volunteer. Before the pandemic caused facility closures, they helped the nature center staff run their school programs more smoothly and efficiently, ultimately improving ONC’s reputation with the schools. Meghan has also assisted on other special event programs, in particular, getting the arts and craft activities preset for ONC’s upcoming Gopher Tortoise Celebration Days! All in all, Taylor and Meghan are huge helps to have around and ONC staff are super appreciative of the time they have dedicated to ONC and their animals. In 6 months, they have already put in 170 hours of volunteer service, that is true dedication!

Even though they are twins, they are two unique individuals who together make an extraordinary volunteer team. The twins have this enthusiasm to help with just about anything, which is crucial at ONC, since their unofficial motto is “never a dull moment at ONC.” They come in eager to work and care for the animal ambassadors every day they are at the nature center! For Volunteer Coordinator Emilie Travis, it is always a joy to know they are scheduled, which makes her job easier and more fun!

The biggest personal benefit that Meghan receives as a volunteer at ONC is the opportunity to work with and learn from such amazing people and animals, and getting to learn about South Florida’s ecosystems first hand. For Taylor, it’s the relationships she has developed with the amazing people (and animals) of ONC that have helped her grow her confidence and passion for helping others, both of which will greatly help her as she begins her masters degree this fall.

Taylor received her Bachelors degree in Secondary Social Science Education from FAU, and participated in color guard/marching band while in college. Currently she is pursuing a Masters Degree in Student Affairs from FAU. She’s one minute older than Meghan. She loves painting and crafting. She previously worked at Disney World as a park greeter. She loves raccoons. Meghan is finishing her Bachelors degree in English with a minor in theater from FAU, and actively participated in various projects with the theater department and Office of Leadership and Service Learning. She also loves cats, baking, spending time with her family and helping others any way she can.

Volunteer Spotlight: Carlos “Carlito” Nerys

Carlito was a Green Cay Nature Center Volunteer for more than 7 years

Carlito was known to “do it all”. He not only helped everyday at Green Cay Nature Center maintaining the boardwalk, cleaning, landscaping and more, but he was always willing to lend a hand with animal care and
special projects, and he became a very strong advocate for wildlife conservation. Carlito attended every special event, and was at the nature center every single day.

Being at Green Cay for over 7 years and dedicating nearly 6,500 hours of service, there is so much that Carlito needs be recognized for. He was always dependable and would show up every single day to assist in maintenance of Green Cay Nature Center. No physical task was too much. He would always enthusiastically lend a helping hand. Whether it was fixing something, installing a new nest box, or cleaning up trash in the entire parking lot, Carlito became an asset to our volunteer family.

Always smiling and willing to share with others his latest wildlife discovery, he loved nature and loved to share this passion with every visitor. Carlito was never afraid to get his hands dirty! Working at a nature center is tough work! It is very physically demanding at times,
working in the Florida sun for hours cutting back trees and debris; it is no easy task. Carlito completed these tasks along with positively interacting with the public. He loved taking photographs of reptiles, birds, bobcats, and the staff members daily! Carlito would love helping out with all of our animal ambassadors at Green Cay, but his favorite, of course, is Oliver the Eastern Screech-Owl.

He was high energy, hard working, dependable, and honest. Carlito has all the qualities ideal in a volunteer and will be truly missed!

What is the biggest personal benefit he received as a volunteer with our department? “Working with great people everyday, especially the other volunteers, has built friendships and experiences that will be remembered always. All the experiences I have had with the animal ambassadors and wildlife has built my appreciation for them as well as the importance of sharing with others how we all benefit by protecting them.”

Interesting facts about Carlito: Carlito is unique in the fact that he is a Deaf individual, proud of his culture. Working as a volunteer at Green Cay, we see that this is no obstacle or something to overcome, but simply a part of his personality. He has never held back expressing himself and communicating with staff, volunteers, or visitors. Carlito loved to teach us Sign and we tried to learn a few things each day. He is high energy! And always smiling! And we see how much he absolutely enjoyed coming to Green Cay daily. He has moved to Puerto Rico with his dad, Carlos Padilla, who recently retired from Green Cay Nature Center. Carlito has set a high bar for our future maintenance volunteers! We wish him all the best in his new adventure and thank him ever so much for his dedication to Green Cay Nature Center.

Daggerwing Nature Center Volunteer awarded Annual Scott Cowan Memorial Scholarship

Megan Mui, recipient of 2020 Scott Cowan Memorial Scholarship.

Friends of Daggerwing Nature Center, Inc. (FOD) announced the 2020 Scott Cowan Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Megan Mui.

 Megan has been a volunteer in the nature center’s gift shop since 2017 and has just graduated from North Broward Preparatory School, an AP Scholar with Distinction. She is also a 2020 National Merit winner. Megan will pursue a premed program at the University of South Florida. She plans a career in medical research in virology.

Initiated in 2017 by the Cowan family, FOD established this annual $500 scholarship to recognize outstanding student volunteers at Daggerwing Nature Center and promote their future educational goals. “We hope to both continue and expand our volunteer scholarship program to recognize and celebrate these young volunteers who make a valued contribution to our nature center”, said Edith Cowan, President of FOD, and mother of Scott Cowan for whom the scholarship is named.

Scholarship contributions to the Scott Cowan Memorial Fund can be donated to Friends of Daggerwing Nature Center, Inc.