Each year, NCC presents the Annual Star Awards to recognize individuals, groups, businesses or organizations for their positive contribution to Gainesville's natural environment. Nominations are accepted in the categories of Star Volunteer, Star Good Neighbor and Star Green Business, they are for contributions made from October 1 of the previous year to September 30 of the current year.
Last year, the Star Volunteer Award recipient Tyler Carney was a reliable and committed volunteer at Sweetwater Wetlands Park dedicating over 70 hours in just the past year, and a total of 180 hours since 2015. Tyler was willing to help with everything including invasive plant removal, trail maintenance, boardwalk maintenance, landscaping, trash pickup, and educational programs.
Gary Paul was recognized as the Star Volunteer Award recipient, utilizing his extensive knowledge and experience to help facilitate events such as Native Plant Sales, Wildflower Walks, the Cane Boil and FiddleFest and the Poetry in the Parks initiative for elementary school children. Mr. Paul is a longtime member and current secretary of the Friends of Nature Parks, and is an advocate for natural and cultural history literacy and appreciation. Gary retired from the City of Gainesville's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department in 2014, after 21 years of dedicated service.
Star Volunteer Award recipients Howard and Lisa Jelks have been instrumental in facilitating the Native Plant Sales for the last 15 years. Howard has been a leader with Alachua Conservation Trust, successfully passing Alachua County Forever and two Wild Spaces Public Places referenda, adding many new parks and improved infrastructure. Mr. and Ms. Jelks regularly participate in the Great Air Potato Roundups and Invader Raider Rallies serving in leadership capacities.
Kids in the Woods
The Star Good Neighbor Award was awarded to the Westwood Middle School science team, along with partners the US Forest Service and University of Florida, for conducting the Kids in the Woods program at Loblolly Woods Nature Park. Teacher Sara Charbonnet and Assistant Principal Ginger Stanford champion the program encouraging its continuation year after year.
Thus far, over 1800 students have spent time outdoors conducting research and learning the scientific method while acquiring an appreciation for the natural environment.
"tells the story"
Check out the video that truly "tells the story" of such a successful collaboration and program!
don't forget... now is the time to nominate someone for the 2019 Star Awards!
Nominations must be received before October 31, 2019 for service provided between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019 in the categories of Star Volunteer, Star Good Neighbor and Star Green Business. It's easy to nominate; however, self-nominations are not accepted.
Please contact Ella Bernhardt-Brooks at Ella Bernhardt-Brooks by email@example.com, phone (352) 393-8353. She can also be reached by mail at the City of Gainesville's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, PO Box 490, Mail Station 66, Gainesville, FL 32627-0490.
but wait, there is more...
Want to learn more about Friends of Nature Parks? The Friends of Nature Parks are the original not-for-profit support organization which provides volunteers, supplemental funding, and advocacy for matters of concern to the nature parks. The Friends sponsors or cosponsors fundraising events including the Fall and Spring Native Plant sales, the Youth Fiddle & Open String~Band Contest at the Cane Boil, and the Farm and Forest Festival.