At the Friends’ Member Meeting in February, I spoke about staff, volunteers and members being one big extended family. Family members support each other, and that support strengthens the family. As the 2018 season in Naples comes to a close, I want to recognize the heart and soul of our family. Since last April, staff have been blessed to work alongside 211 extraordinary volunteers dedicating 14,453 of service, supporting programs and activities for both the Friends and Reserve. To each and every volunteer that has contributed your time, THANK YOU!
Without the help of volunteers, many organizations would cease to exist. In my non-profit management tenure, I’ve had the privilege to work alongside the likes of Tom R, Valerie G, Eve P, Mark H, and so many other amazing volunteers, all of whom greatly contributed to my professional success. I am eternally grateful to these once volunteers turned extended family members. Although I’ve only been in Naples a short time, it’s clear to me the Friends would not be in a position to support the Reserve’s mission, and the Reserve would not have the capacity to continue its great work educating the public and utilizing science to better manage your backyard, Rookery Bay Research Reserve. In the years to come, I look forward to growing my extended family, working alongside volunteers to strengthen the Friends and Reserve.
For those of you that haven’t had the chance to join our volunteer team, participation opportunities abound. Whether it be greeters and interpreters engaging with visitors in the Environmental Learning Center, the ‘Rusty Zippers’ crew helping maintain the grounds and giving our bridge over Henderson Creek a new coat of paint, retired mechanics lending a hand in the Reserve’s boat yard, Team OCEAN members educating recreational boaters throughout Rookery Bay waters, or those assisting with educational programs and the Friends’ Batfish Bash for the Bay, each play a unique and critical role supporting our family.
Thank you again, volunteers!