Robert Ullom has been an animal care volunteer at Okeeheelee Nature Center (ONC) for the past four years. He assists with the nature center’s normal operating procedures by taking care of both the indoor and outdoor education animals. This includes all types of animal husbandry, such as feeding and enclosure maintenance. However, Robert goes above and beyond by providing animal enrichment for all of the education animals. This helps the animal’s wellbeing by stimulating their senses, improving their overall nutrition and enhancing their physical health. Robert also serves as an environmental education docent and helps with the programs by sharing his own expertise on reptiles and native Florida vegetation to our visitors. Currently, Robert is a mentor for our teen volunteers by helping them with their annual research projects that are required for the Okee-Teen program.Continue reading Volunteer Spotlight: Robert Ullom
Volunteer docents at the Pioneer Home offer a look into Jupiter’s past and serve to broaden the public’s understanding of the unique cultural and historical landmark that sits in DuBois Park. Built atop a Native American shell rock mound by the DuBois family, the home is an excellent example of life in a self-sufficient pioneer homestead. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department operates the Home and takes visitors on a journey back in time through guided tours to better understand and develop an appreciation for the land and its past inhabitants.
Lynn Desy, a volunteer docent at the DuBois Pioneer Home shared, “Most of all, I love volunteering for PBC’s DuBois Pioneer Home because I love meeting a wide variety of people and sometimes learning of their connections with the home. However, I love researching historical facts and learning more continuously as questions and thoughts arise all the time. My biggest reward is becoming particularly good friends with the descendants of this pioneer family and interacting with, and enjoying them, in their current life.”
The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department recognizes volunteer efforts as a valuable resource in working towards its mission in providing opportunities for healthy, happy living through award-winning parks, inclusive experiences and environmental stewardship. Volunteering is a rewarding way to give back and connect with the community and the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department is looking for volunteer docents who enjoy interacting with people and who have a passion for art, history and culture.
Join our team by volunteering and become the heart of PBC Parks! Apply to become a volunteer at www.pbcparks.com
On September 18, Adopt-A-Park Partners collected over 1,400lbs of trash at county-operated beaches and parks as part of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), a global awareness day that began in 1986 by Ocean Conservancy to remove trash from the world’s beaches and waterways. Our partners came out via foot, paddle and SCUBA to host seven cleanups, enlisting over 400 volunteers. The ICC is also an opportunity to educate the community about how plastics and waste impact their environments and how they can make a positive difference by reducing, reusing and recycling every day.
A huge amount of gratitude goes out to all of our partners and those who participated and contributed to the success of the ICC. Special thanks to the following participating Adopt-A-Park Partners who made a difference during the ICC: Loxahatchee River Center, Visit Palm Beach/Palm Beach Eco-tourism Association, Beach Bucket Foundation, Pura Vida Divers, Nautical Ventures, Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, Lake Osbourne Estates Homeowners Association and the Caloosa Cleanup Crew.
A monthly clean up host, The Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute was able to hosts their largest cleanup to date with 62 volunteers. They removed 160lbs of garbage—a new record for our partner. Loxahatchee River Center adopted Coral Cove Park this day and removed over 100lbs from the shoreline with the help of almost 90 volunteers of all ages. Meanwhile, Visit Palm Beach/Palm Beach Eco-tourism Association and the Beach Bucket Foundation held a collaborative effort at Ocean Reef Park, removing over 600lbs from the beach with almost 150 volunteers—an outstanding effort leaving our beaches pristine and trash free that weekend.
At Phil Foster Park, our long-term Adopt-A-Park partner, Pura Vida Divers, hosted a land and water cleanup under the Blue Heron Bridge. A team of divers from Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office came out to support this event and helped remove litter that was created from a vessel that had previously polluting the waterways. Pura Vida hosted 49 volunteers and removed 155lbs of garbage. Nautical Ventures organized a paddle cleanup around Peanut Island with 28 volunteers and removed nearly 200lbs of garbage from the Island and surrounding waterways. In John Prince Park, Lake Osborne Estates Homeowners Association came together and cleaned around the trails and shoreline of Lake Osborne, removing 111lbs of litter.
Special thanks to Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc. for championing this event each year, encouraging organizations to host or participate in organized cleanups and for providing supplies and t-shirts to participants.
You can help keep PBC Parks’ beaches and parks clean by becoming an Adopt-A-Park partner, a program that gives participants a sense of park ownership and an outlet to give back to the community by maintaining parks, beaches, and trails through picking up litter, maintaining flower beds, painting, and more. You can also join or organize a beach cleanup. Learn more about volunteering with PBC Parks here: https://discover.pbcgov.org/parks/General/Volunteer.aspx.
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.