Alligator River/Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
P. O. Box 1969
Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131

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News Release

Tea Garden
Bob Teagarden (left) receives Refuge Volunteer of the Year Plaque from Biologist Kris Fair (center) and Refuge Manager Mike Bryant (right).
Photo Credit: Mary Helen Goodloe-Murphy, The Coastland Times

2007 Fall Interns
Fall interns for Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges: (left to right) Brett Idol, Lauren Spears, Joe Ibarra, and Traci Foulkes. For information about becoming a refuge intern, contact Abbey Reibel at 252-987-1118 or abbey_reibel@fws.gov
Photo Credit: Mary Helen Goodloe-Murphy, The Coastland Times

National Wildlife Refuge Volunteers Honored

Recently, volunteers of Pea Island and Alligator River National Wildlife Refuges were honored for their dedication and hard work. During the awards presentations, Bob Teagarden was announced as the Volunteer of the Year for 2007. The award for "High Sales Day" in the Visitor Center was captured by John and Laura Gilson. The record career-high hours award was presented to Warren Davis for a cumulative 7,000 hours of volunteer service. In addition to individual awards, all volunteers received their choice of several heirloom-quality limited-edition stained glass suncatchers custom-made by Alison Ellis of Green Heron Glass in Engelhard.

Refuge manager Mike Bryant began the presentations with a simple statement, ``I want to thank you for your help.’’

These volunteers, said Bryant, help conserve, manage and protect the fish and wildlife of the United States that visit or live in Pea Island and Alligator River National Wildlife refuges. They are the backbone of the labor force for many refuge programs.

Several general categories of volunteers grace local refuges, donating their energy and time to the trust resources of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The most visible and, probably the most crucial, are the local volunteers - folks who live in the local communities all or part of the year and donate time to the refuges on a regular basis. Because they live here, these volunteers serve as ambassadors for refuges in the communities. These dedicated folks are aided by resident volunteers who live in their own RVs on sites provided by the refuge and interns, who live in government housing and volunteer full-time. Both of the residential volunteer types work full- or part-time for a specific length of time (usually 3-6 months). Local volunteers provide continuity. Resident volunteers add numbers to the work force and new ideas from other places they've served.

"These volunteers join forces to accomplish so much work", explains Volunteer Coordinator Abbey Reibel. "They staff the Visitor Center over 360 days a year, lead bird walks at least weekly year-round, guide 2-6 canoe tours a week for 7 months of the year, drive the beaches looking for sea turtle nests, baby-sit the nests until they hatchlings make it all the way to the ocean, build things, maintain trails, pick up trash, .... Golly, they do whatever we need!"

For one group of volunteers, sea turtles are the main focus. And, they work sea turtle nests on both ends... both when they laid and when they hatch! On Pea Island refuge, volunteers drive the length of refuge beaches every morning during the summer looking for turtle crawls. When nest hatches are expected, volunteers arrive on the beach around 6 p.m. to set up equipment and watch nests for hatchlings to emerge. Through rain, wind and steamy nights and with annoying bugs buzzing, these volunteers sit watch.

This year, the refuge honored one of those long-time turtle program participants as the Volunteer of the Year. Bob Teagarden has watched and patrolled for turtles for almost a decade. As an early morning ATV rider, Teagarden has logged 3,500 miles looking for the tell-tale signs of turtle activity. Teagarden designed and fabricated an improved predator guard for nests. He created an infrared listening device to hear hatchlings in the nest. Teagarden, who lives in Frisco, has always been ready to fill-in when needed. Presenting the award were Bryant and Refuge Biologist Kris Fair. This award acknowledged Teagarden as an excellent and superior volunteer with heart and dedication.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteers are awarded certificates after completing 100 hours of service. Volunteers then receive a pin for hours totaling 250 and 500 and moving upward in increments of 500 hours.

For 20 years, Warren Davis has staffed a Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge visitor center. After retirement, Davis started his new career answering visitor questions and selling t-shirts in one room of the Pea Island headquarters. Today, Davis takes a shift at the refuge’s popular visitor center, which the Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society operates for the benefit of the two refuges. Davis helped start that organization and continues to serve on the board. Davis was the first Volunteer of the Year for the refuges in 1988. This year, Warren Davis received a pin representing 7,000 hours of time amassed over two decades of volunteer service.

Pat Moore leads bird walks and serves on the steering committee for the annual Wings over Water Wildlife Festival. She received a pin representing 2,500 hours of cumulative volunteer service. Joining Moore at the 2,500-hour bench mark was Stew Whittle.

Earning certificates representing 100 hours of volunteer service were Peggy Eubank, Elanit Fauth, Waverly Reibel, Laura Wolke, Tommy Fulcher, Georgia Griffiths, Rich Griffiths, Bill Monsma and Judy Monsma.

Six volunteers achieved 250 hours of cumulative service. Receiving pins representing 250 hours were Colleen Anderson, Sue Carroll, Angie Brady-Daniels, Sandy Semans, Ken Teiken and Patsy Teiken.

In northeastern North Carolina refuges, interns provide valuable assistance in managing natural resources, providing visitor services and interpretation. Interns are volunteers who usually work on a refuge for a minimum of three months. Housing and a food stipend are provided. Generally, interns are college-aged students with an interest in natural resource management, biology or a related field. Interns worked in Pea Island and Alligator River refuges year-round during 2007. These refuge interns earned certificates, 250 hour and 500-hour pins for their work. Receiving all those awards were Traci Foulkes, Lauren Spears, Joe Ibarra, Meghan Griffin, Brett Idol, Chip Kosloski and Josh Walter. Joey Hinton, another intern, reached the 1,000 hour level during 2007. Resident Volunteer Bill Voegtli earned a certificate and 250 hour- and 500-hour pins.

Rich Burke, another Resident Volunteer, was posthumously awarded pins representing 250 and 500 hours of volunteer service.

Receiving 500-hour pins are Brian Kidd and Ken Wynne.

Bob Glennon, a former refuge employee, reached 3,000 hours of volunteer service.

For information about ways that you can volunteer on local national wildlife refuges, contact Abbey Reibel at 252-987-1118 or abbey_reibel@fws.gov.