SSSP Volunteers Honored by State of Florida
Our big story this month is VOLUNTEERS. We always try to highlight the various contributions our Friends make in every edition of The Springs Times. But this month, we are beating a really big drum for some of our “frequent flyers” who have received special recognition from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for their distinguished service to the various Parks that comprise the state’s parks system. Of course, we congratulate and admire all the volunteers throughout the state who have been recognized but want to make sure that you don’t miss the news about those who are our colleagues in the Friends of Silver Springs State Park (FSSSP).
Our first star volunteer is Pam Reed who we spotlighted in last month’s Spring’s Times. Well, glad to see that DEP caught up with us and agrees that this lady is some kind of special by giving her one of its top awards, The Volunteer of the Year for Protection. Here’s DEP’s description of Pam’s service and more about the award:
“Pam Reed has been a local volunteer for just over six years. So far, she has contributed over 3000 hours of volunteer service. Pam serves as the head volunteer for the (Silver Springs State) park’s River Patrol Program. In that capacity, she schedules other volunteers, helps organize the program, and provides each patrol volunteer with training and orientation, Every week, she spends two to four days actively patrolling the river with other volunteers, Silver Springs is a very busy park and eco tourist destination. Between 100 and 1,000 paddlers enjoy canoe and kayak trips on the Silver River every day. Many visitors have “theme park” expectations, with some of them even thinking the river will go around in a circle and bring them back to the paddle launch. Pam and her team of trained volunteers provide a critical role in protecting the river by helping visitors understand paddling safety, hydrology, springs systems and wildlife, and how their behavior can impact natural resources. Thanks to Pam’s efforts, visitors enjoy a safer, more educational experience on the Silver River. She also has served on the board of directors of the Friends of Silver Springs State Park, its citizen support group.” For more info on Pam’s award, go to: https://www.floridastateparks.org/learn/volunteer-spotlight-7
Next we want to congratulate a group of SSSP volunteers who received DEP’s Volunteer of 3+ Award for Maintenance for their energies to renovate and refurbish the Park’s entire 59 site campground with 2 bathrooms, 10 cabins and a day use area. “From repairs to rejuvenation, this team made improvements for safety, facility appearance and park functionality.” Friends, Jane and Jim Kaufman and Lisa and Brian Donnelly were part of the group. According to DEP, the two couples collectively logged in almost 5,000 volunteer hours “helping out with a wide variety of volunteer projects, including river patrol, maintenance, events, administration and more”. Jane also led our Friends group as President for over five years and was one of the key movers in the success of our Critter Trail 5K Run/Walk. Other dedicated SSSP volunteers recognized by DEP with this award are: Larry Mathis, Rod Taylor, Rusty and Alicia Ramsey, Debra Welch and Bill, Pete Ellis and Bill Hahn. To learn more about their accomplishments, go to: https://www.floridastateparks.org/learn/volunteer-spotlight-30