Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131
November 23, 2009
Refuge Volunteers Recognized at Annual Event
Volunteers make a wide-range of contributions to Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges each year. Those volunteers and their work on these Outer Banks refuges were celebrated at an annual dinner held at Pamlico Jack's on Saturday, Nov. 21. Among the hundreds of volunteers helping the refuges, 18 received special awards this year. Recognized as Volunteer of the Year was Paul Goudy, a talented mechanic who has donated 280 hours of volunteer time since August 2009. Goudy was praised for his diagnostic skills and ability to fix equipment and vehicles rather than just replacing parts. "He’s a perfect fit for us," said Bruce Creef, Maintenance Supervisor who directs Paul's work.
Goudy helps maintain a fleet of 50 vehicles and 20 pieces of heavy equipment on both refuges. He’s certified to work on diesel engines, is an experienced heavy equipment operator and knows the unique swamp and pocosin habitat in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
Volunteers at the refuges work in the Pea Island visitor center, patrol for turtles, watch turtle nests, help with Big Sit, Wings over Water and Howlings, lead weekly birding walks, sweep litter from beaches and roadsides, and so much more. In 2009, almost 300 volunteers donated more than 23,000 hours to these refuges.
Throughout the national refuge system as volunteers accumulate 100 hours of time donated, certificates are presented. Special pins are awarded as volunteers attain various benchmarks in their careers.
This year, Neal Moore and Ron Marchand both received special pins for their contributions - reaching the 2,000 hour level.
Receiving recognition for over 1,500 hours of volunteer service were Ken Wynne, who works at the Pea Island visitor center, and Lee Yoder, a bird walk leader.
Hitting the 1,000-hour volunteer benchmark this year were John Gibson, who volunteers at the Pea Island visitor center, and Alligator River intern Jacob Humm.
Eight volunteers reached the 500-hour mark this year. Receiving 500-hour pins are Rich Griffiths, Georgia Griffiths, Sandy Semans, Janice Lane, Peggy Eubank and Pea Island interns Pamela Bean, Kelly Goodale and Joshua Brown.
Marlene Schumm was acknowledged for 250 donated hours and Carol Bauer and Tom Williamston both received certificates for 100 hours of service.
At the dinner, all volunteers received signed and numbered stained glass ornaments made only for volunteers by Alison Ellis of Green Heron Glass in Swan Quarter.
Bryant also announced that the two national refuges will have a new visitor center and office space in two years. Groundbreaking for the new facility on Roanoke Island is expected in late spring 2010.
Prior to the dinner, the Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society held its annual membership meeting. Elected officers for the coming year are George ``Bucket’’ Taylor, president, Stanley Oliver, vice president, Martha Howell, secretary and Warren Davis, treasurer. Elected board members include Gail Dreis, Joyce Bornfriend and Pam Malec Landrum.
``We do have a lot of things going on,’’ said Oliver. "Our highest priority focus right now is connecting children with these national wildlife refuges. We know if they don't learn to love these refuges, they won't grow up to take care of them." The Society operates the Pea Island visitor center, proceeds from which benefit the refuges through program support. This next year, the society will operate on a $266,000 budget.
Across the United States, 550 refuges bring nearly 40 million people closer to 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 reptile and amphibian species and more than 200 species of fish. In addition to wildlife observation, national refuges like Pea Island and Alligator River offer opportunities for wildlife photography, environmental education, hiking, kayaking, hunting and fishing.
The Pea Island and Alligator River refuge volunteers are among 38,000 volunteers donating 1.4 million hours to help the 7,500 refuge system employees across the United States.
To volunteer in the Pea Island or Alligator River refuges, contact Abbey Reibel at 475-4266 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PAUL GOUDY (right) receives the 2009 Volunteer of the Year award from Refuge Manager Mike Bryant for his dedication to and support of Pea Island and Alligator River National Wildlife Refuges. Goudy, a talented mechanic, equipment operator, and all-round "handyman", helps maintain the refuges’ fleet of 50 vehicles and 20 pieces of heavy equipment. Goudy received the award at the refuges’ annual volunteer banquet held at Pamlico Jack’s on November 21. Photo Credit: USFWS - Bonnie Strawser.