Hands & Hearts Celebrates Volunteers


Annual event recognizes the Nature Center's volunteers for their hard work and dedication during the previous year.
People sitting around tables in a room
Hands & Hearts 2022. Photo by FWNC&R Staff.

Hands & Hearts is the Nature Center’s annual celebration of our volunteers. We recognize their hard work and dedication to the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge with awards, a catered dinner, activities, and a raffle. Usually, Hands & Hearts takes place in February, but this year, we decided to move it to April — National Volunteer Appreciation Month.

Hands & Hearts is our way of showing our gratitude to our volunteers for the time they have committed to the Refuge throughout the previous year. In 2021, a total of 98 volunteers logged more than 3,200 hours of volunteer time. These volunteers were critical to our ability to keep operations at the Refuge running smoothly.

Fifty-two Natural Guard volunteers logged nearly 1,200 hours in 2021. These hardworking volunteers help keep the trails maintained, remove invasive species, install new bridges and signs, and make improvements across the Refuge. We had 30 Restoration Greenhouse volunteers log nearly 1,000 hours. These essential volunteers are crucial to our ability to beautify our park by collecting native plant seeds, propagating plants in the greenhouse, and planting them across the Refuge in a strategic manner.

We had 10 docents log nearly 200 hours in 2021. We did not have as many school groups in 2021 due to COVID, but our docents were always ready and available to assist with school tours, guided hikes, and other forms of outreach. Wildlife Ambassador Care volunteers were able to return halfway through 2021 after COVID restrictions were lifted. We had 13 Ambassador Care volunteers log more 350 hours during that six-month timeframe. These volunteers help education staff take excellent care of our ambassador animals.

Ten Roving Naturalist volunteers logged a total of 300 hours throughout 2021. Roving Naturalists set up stations in designated areas throughout the park to assist our education staff by providing knowledgeable educational information to guests frequenting those hot spots.

Ten special project volunteers, including those for Feeder Watch, administrative assistance, and water testing, logged nearly 150 hours. These volunteers bring their expertise and training to assist our staff with citizen science projects and more.

As more people discover the hidden gem that is the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, volunteers become that much more critical to the experience that we strive to provide our guests.

By Kenneth Nalley, Park Naturalist/Volunteer Coordinator, Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge

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