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  • Helena Kyle

Volunteer Your Way to Clean Water

Volunteering Series: Volunteer Your Way to Clean Water.

Previously Published in the Pineapple Post

By Helena Kyle

On the heels of the algae bloom problem along the Treasure Coast making national news, we locals can turn our water situation into good news, by supporting organizations or individuals taking action to clean up our waterways. Volunteering for organizations devoted to promoting stewardship is invaluable support. This month’s spotlight: The Hobe Sound Nature Center – a fantastic place to volunteer!

Volunteer coordinator, Lis Wight, a friendly, exceptionally knowledgeable young woman, began her career as an educator/naturalist, by volunteering at the Hobe Sound Nature Center. As a volunteer, she enjoyed doing what she loves to do while taking online distance learning college classes to earn her Master Degree in environmental studies.

The Nature Center was established in 1973 by members of the Jupiter Island Garden Club; it shares the facilities with the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge. Their website says, “Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, was established September 30, 1969. It is a coastal refuge bisected by the Indian River Lagoon into two separate tracts of land totaling over 1000 acres. The 735 acre Jupiter Island tract provides some of the most productive sea turtle nesting habitat in the United States, and the 300-acre sand pine scrub mainland tract is valued because more than 90 percent of this community type has been lost to development in Florida. Sand pine scrub habitat is restricted only to Florida and an adjacent county in Alabama.”

Owls, snakes, baby alligators, to name a few residents, offer volunteers and visitors of all ages a fun, interesting, hands-on interactive education. The Center hosts numerous seasonal programs, both indoors and outdoors. Additionally, there is an all-terrain wheelchair available for use. Nature enthusiasts, students, former teachers, and snowbirds enjoy volunteering at the Nature Center, however, you do not need to be a teacher or student to volunteer. If you are a student, and interested in becoming an educator, or interested in environmental studies, the Hobe Sound Nature Center is a great place to volunteer. High school students receive credit for volunteering, and the Center offers internship opportunities.

I am not a shopper, at all, but I could not pass up the Nature Center’s inviting, top-notch, Owl’s Roost Gift Shop without purchasing a good book, and a couple of laminated field guides; one hundred percent of the gift shop proceeds fund supplies, and food for the animals at the Center. Donations to the Nature Center are tax-deductible.

Volunteers range in age from fourteen to ninety-five; the eldest volunteer recently retired after twenty-eight years of service, at the age of ninety-five. Volunteer duties can be designed to fit any schedule; they include: office help, gift shop, animal care, greeting visitors, assisting with programs, invasive plant removal and beach cleanups.

The mission of the Hobe Sound Nature Center, is to increase awareness of man’s relationship with the natural environment through educational programs while encouraging stewardship. Sounds like a recipe for helping to clean up our Treasure Coast waterways.

For more information:

Hours of operation: 9:00 A.M. to 3: P.M., Monday through Saturday (closed for major holidays).

Contact Lis Wight, Volunteer Coordinator:

Phone: (772) 546.2067


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