"A civilization flourishes when people plant trees
under which they will never sit."
The following volunteers are being recognized for their outstanding contributions to the Atlantic County Park System. Their most precious gifts of time and talent are truly treasured.
VOLUNTEER OF THE QUARTER (April – June) Spring 2014: Cheryl Osolinsky
Nurturing an interest in nature, this active birder has been flocking to bluebird nesting sites throughout the Park System. At least 2-3 times per week, Cheryl visits several bluebird boxes to count eggs and hatchlings, monitor nest conditions, and keep track of fledglings. Certified by numerous professional development agencies, Cheryl transports her outdoor experience back to the classroom at ACSSSD. She has also landed thousands of hours volunteering for other agencies as a braille mentor, court-appointed special advocate and environmental technician. The Park is fortunate indeed to have such a fine friend nestled in its volunteer assemblage.
VOLUNTEER OF THE QUARTER (Jan.-March) Winter 2014: Ethan Armbruster
This high school freshman contacted the Park System last fall with a desire to perform a service project to benefit his community, and qualify for the rank of Eagle Scout. A member of BSA Troop 126, Ethan’s desire met the Park’s need to rejuvenate a tired but popular “Trees of the Park” sign on display in the Nature Center. The project involves collecting, preserving, and mounting leaf, flower, and seed samples for up to 30 tree species, while mapping specimen locations for a future tour guide. The process has included considerable research regarding what each tree is known for, methods of preserving the samples, along with planning how to best allocate the troop’s resources through the 4 seasons of collection activities. Ethan has already spent a significant amount of time meeting with staff, and adapting his original plans so that future visitors (and students completing tree projects) may more easily identify their forest resources. Thank you Ethan!
VOLUNTEER OF THE QUARTER (Oct. - Dec.) Autumn 2013: James Watson
Our feathered friends are at home thanks to the efforts of this fantastic volunteer. James actually began his volunteer service before officially coming onboard when he constructed the purple martin apartments located near the boathouse at Lake Lenape. With a keen interest in our avian guests, he has also been assisting other volunteers with maintaining bluebird boxes throughout the Park System. Last autumn, James was active in his home workshop assembling a new dwelling for the lustrous purple martin colony. Thanks to his drive, knowledge about inn keeping, and woodworking finesse, this proprietor’s efforts has enhanced the experience of both our winged and two-legged visitors alike.
VOLUNTEER OF THE QUARTER (June - Aug.) Summer 2013: Paul Quick
Continuing his record breaking service, this multi-talented, multi-tasking, self-starter has given hundreds of hours to the Park System. Beginning his volunteer service with removing overgrown limbs from trail edges, and thorns from trail beds, Paul soon branched out to assisting with group programming. When he noticed trails flooding due to beaver activity, he began the arduous undertaking of clearing mucky debris from the spillways, only to have it reappear overnight repeatedly. Not dissuaded by that Sisyphean task, at the end of summer Paul’s interest rotated to bike repair, just when it was needed most. Repairing broken seats and pedals, and fixing flat tires by pulling out thorns, Paul’s service has cycled completely. Little wonder that he was selected as our 2012 Volunteer of the Year. Congratulations Paul!
VOLUNTEER OF THE QUARTER (April-May) Spring 2013: Barbara Keith
Barbara Keith – This volunteer dropped into the park after hearing about us at the Estell Manor City Hall. A recent transplant to this area, Barbara wanted to get involved in her new community. With extensive volunteer involvement in schools, shelters, and domestic violence centers, Barbara is also a certified Master Gardener. Interested in entomology, botany and environmental issues, she has been helping us maintain the flower beds around the Nature Center building and beautifying the visitor experience. Her deeds show that Barbara knows how to grow roots into her new community, and the Park System warmly welcomes her.
VOLUNTEER OF THE QUARTER (Jan.-March) Winter 2013: JORBA
This quarter’s award goes to the Jersey Off-Road Bicycle Association under the effective leadership of volunteer Ken Seebeck. A member of the US Coast Guard, Ken possesses the necessary skills to work in tandem with others. Last June’s derecho followed by Hurricane Sandy in October visited extensive damage to the park system, especially to the single track multi use trail located within the Duck Farm Loop on the north end of the Estell Manor Park. Traveled primarily by cyclists, this path looked “like a bomb exploded” in several sections. In rolls JORBA to the rescue. Using only hand tools, this group embarked upon the back breaking task of rendering this trail navigable once again for riding. Thank you JORBA!
VOLUNTEER OF THE QUARTER (Oct. - Dec.) Autumn 2012: Doris Dackonish
Continuing her almost decade long service to the Park System, Doris Dackonish is an extremely valued member of the volunteer program. Assisting with such recreation programs as Holiday Magic, History Hikes, and Little Learners Craft Classes, Doris has become an integral part of these activities. >From preparation to program delivery, she infuses the moment with radiant smiles, and soothing wisdom. Doris has gleaned a respectable knowledge of park events, opportunities, operations, and history, which she shares with the public in her quiet, unassuming way. Whether it is helping young children learn to cut, paste, and glue, or overseeing the guess the number of candies in the snowman contest, Doris can be counted upon to know what is needed and to get the job done with style and grace. Thank you Doris!
VOLUNTEER OF THE QUARTER (June - Aug.) Summer 2012 - Allen Jackson
Retired after 31 years as a Biologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Services, this dedicated volunteer braved the derecho’s remains to ensure homes for bluebirds were clean and safe for nesting. Named 2002 Purple Martin Landlord of the Year, Allen Jackson has a banding permit and bands thousands of purple martins, and hundreds of bluebirds annually. Amidst brutal conditions of heat and humidity, Allen restored and monitored more than a dozen boxes at the Estell Manor Park during the breeding season last summer. You may also see him cycling on the roads to, or trails within the park. Just look for the winged bicyclist bearing binoculars.
VOLUNTEER OF THE QUARTER Spring 2012 - Bob Baum
This retired teacher’s interest in assisting with children’s programs could not have been more timely. Just as the new Kids Week program was being developed, staff was scrambling to present a variety of activities for youth and parents to enjoy together. In strolls troubadour Bob Baum wielding a six-string, karaoke machine, and fast drying clay to the rescue. Families sang songs, performed a hat dance, and painted hand made animal sculptures. A true Renaissance man, Bob’s skills in fine arts, creative writing, singing, and guitar playing were tendered most generously. Thanks to Bob’s expertise and experience, participants left on a quest for the next revelry. Stay tuned.
VOLUNTEER OF THE QUARTER: Winter 2011/2012 - Paul Quick
Retired from the FAA Tech Center as an Electronics Engineer, this avid hiker heard about volunteer opportunities while walking his golden retrievers at the Estell Manor Park. Interested in trail maintenance, Paul began his volunteer service by cutting back overgrown trails. He has since ventured into assisting students with learning map and compass skills during group orienteering programs. Paul possesses a strong desire to see nature preserved and available for future generations to enjoy. This desire was put to work during the Cologne tract group cleanup, his way of celebrating Earth Day. Described as anything except retiring, Paul has broken the record for number of hours served, reaching almost 100 in just 3 months. Congratulations Paul!
VOLUNTEER OF THE QUARTER Autumn 2011 - Sarah Kelly
Googling volunteer work on her computer, this 8th grade student contacted us in October to discover what volunteer opportunities could be found within the Atlantic County Park System. Having an interest in nature, a match was made with our visitor’s servicesin the Nature Center. Sarah has been trained to deliver information on park facilities and programs, operate telephone and radio systems, decipher park maps and furnish directions. When she is not interacting with park patrons, Sarah is enhancing the visitor experience by cleaning the chalkboard, chairs, tables, and anything else as requested. Park staff always looks forward to the assistance that Sarah’s biweekly service provides.
VOLUNTEER OF THE QUARTER (June - Aug.) Summer 2011: Dave Keefe
This faithful volunteer has been patching tubes and mending ball bearings since 1996. His regular job employs 6 days of his week, and on the 7th he somehow finds the time to keep the borrow-a-bike program gliding along. No matter how hot, cold, humid, or buggy, Dave consistently shows up ready to roll if the bikes need fixing. In the frosty season, he dons his biggest belly laugh and inspires all those good little girls and boys to be their not naughtiest self when asking for new bikes and toys. Due to his long-term level of volunteerism Dave was selected to receive the Presidential Volunteer Service Gold Award. Congratulations Dave!
VOLUNTEER OF THE QUARTER (March - May) Spring 2011: Catherine Ratay
Resuming her volunteer service last year, Cathy has actually been engaged in the volunteer program since 1993. Interested in photography, gardening and antiques, her most recent service has included staffing an info booth at the 4-H fair, and assisting with the multiagency clean-up of the River Bend Park. With an extraordinary interest in, and awe of, nature, Cathy projects a "willing to learn" attitude that makes even the most mundane activity a remarkable adventure. Thank you Cathy!
VOLUNTEER OF THE QUARTER (Dec. - Feb.) Winter 2010/2011: Julie Akers
It has been almost 20 years since the Park System had the good fortune to attract the attention of this dedicated and accomplished volunteer. Despite the demands of teaching science full-time to middle school students, Julie Akers manages to create the time to actively participate in myriad environmental groups and conservation projects. Her extensive knowledge of nature and the environment benefits patrons during Orienteering programs, when she helps participants find their way with investigative confidence. As Secretary for Friends of the Parks, Inc., Julie has been instrumental in composing the Pinelands Folk Arts Festival event. Her steadfastness makes Julie a true friend of the park in deed.
VOLUNTEER OF THE QUARTER (Sept. - Nov.) Autumn 2010: Andrew & Kathleen Weatherby
Kathleen contacted the Park after seeing volunteer opportunities advertised in the bulletin. A teacher for the Upper Twp. Primary School, she and her son Andrew expressed interest in beautifying the park and supporting children’s programs. Andrew is a National Junior Honor Society student and is also involved with baseball, cycling, crew, kayaking, and camping activities Together they have been helping to make park trails, playgrounds, and events a more enjoyable experience for others.