Refuge appreciates volunteers with drive-through awards event | News, Sports, Jobs – SANIBEL-CAPTIVA


J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Supervisor Kevin Godsea and “Ding” Darling Wildlife Modern society-Mates of the Refuge Character Shop Senior Assistant Carrie Harmon greet volunteers.

As soon as once again, this calendar year, COVID-19 safeguards intended a new way of appreciating volunteers of the J.N. “Ding” Darling Countrywide Wildlife Refuge. In a long time previous, team introduced awards at a luncheon collecting hosted by the refuge and “Ding” Darling Wildlife Modern society-Close friends of the Refuge. Final yr, the refuge launched the notion of a travel-via occasion.

“Visitor Solutions Ranger Katy Hosokawa came up with a incredibly imaginative resolution,” Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland reported. “We hosted a drive-through appreciation occasion on a Friday, when Wildlife Travel is closed to the general public. It was so prosperous, we repeated it this yr with our April No Foolin’ Volunteers Appreciation Push-By means of on April 1. We invited the volunteers to travel by 13 stations exactly where they performed online games, observed wildlife, and obtained presents, awards, and tons of cheering and the enthusiastic gratitude they have earned.”

Refuge and DDWS staff members and interns attended the stations, along with visitor corporations that will be participating in “Ding” Darling Working day on April 24 at Lakes Park in Fort Myers. Far more than 90 volunteers participated with massive smiles and compliments about the celebration.

“Of study course, volunteer figures were down this 12 months owing to COVID surges and since the Customer & Education Heart exhibits did not reopen right until immediately after yearly stats have been tallied,” Hosokawa said. “But we are mighty proud of our volunteer numbers, irrespective.”

She documented that in fiscal calendar year 2020-21, 361 volunteers labored 18,522 several hours at the refuge, symbolizing a labor and positive aspects cost savings of extra than $528,000. It quantities to the equal of much more than 9 comprehensive-time staffers.

Doris Hardy receives an award for 10,000 volunteer several hours.

The DDWS formed in 1982 especially to guidance a volunteer corps just after the opening of the refuge’s initial visitor centre that yr. Much more than 11,000 individuals visited in the first thirty day period at the time the heart opened, mind-boggling a workers unaccustomed to working with the inquisitive public.

“Volunteers stepped in then to fill in the gaps remaining by insufficient federal funding, and they proceed to do so right now as the price range steadily declines,” DDWS Govt Director Birgie Miller reported.

The volunteers who gained awards for reaching hour and 12 months achievement stages consist of:

Several years AWARDS

– 20 decades: Denny Souers

– 10 many years: Judy Barbieri, Carolyn Bergen, David Eager, Judy Perkins, Tom Ware and Jack Waszmer


– 10,000 hrs: Doris Hardy

– 6,500 hours: Patty Wettstein

– 2,500 hrs: Randy Reed and Sandy Reed

– 2,000 hours: Janet Lucree

– 1,500 hrs: Nancy Riley and Karl Werner

– 1,000 several hours: Lyndon Borror, Carl Greenbaum, Sandra Greenbaum, Cindy Seaman and Jack Waszmer

– 500 several hours: Richard Jones and Sharon Jones

– 250 hours: Christine Columbus, Rose Flaherty, Rick Herbst, David Jeffries, Mary Meyer, Trish Sutherland, Randy Reed and Sandy Reed

– 150 hrs: Christine Columbus, Rick Herbst, Robin Kirk, Delores Lobbato, Mary Meyer, Cristina Shaul, Matt Shaul, Donna Wilmot and Susie Wilson