Volunteers Celebrated with Hands & Hearts

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Hands & Hearts celebrates the many volunteers who help keep the Nature Center operating smoothly.
Volunteers enjoy food, awards, and activities during Hands & Hearts 2023. Photo by FWNC&R Staff.

Hands & Hearts is the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge’s annual celebration of its volunteers. We recognize our volunteers’ hard work and dedication to the Nature Center with awards, a catered dinner, activities, and a raffle. This year, we decided to hold the event in April — which is National Volunteer Appreciation Month.

Hands & Hearts is our way of showing our gratitude to our volunteers for the time they generously committed to the Refuge during the previous year. In 2022, we had a total of 96 volunteers log nearly 3,000 hours. These volunteers were critical to our ability to keep operations at the Refuge running smoothly.

Thirty-six Natural Guard volunteers logged nearly 1,000 hours in 2022. These volunteers help keep the trails maintained, remove invasive species, install new bridges and signs, and make improvements across the Refuge.

We had 26 greenhouse volunteers log nearly 700 hours. Our greenhouse 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.

Also in 2022, we had 21 docents log nearly 300 hours. After the pandemic began to retreat, we experienced a rebound in school groups coming to the Nature Center, and our docents were always ready and available to assist with school tours, guided hikes, and outreach.

We had 15 animal care volunteers log more than 500 hours. These volunteers help the education staff take excellent care of our ambassador animals.

Fifteen roving naturalist volunteers logged 300 hours throughout 2022. Roving naturalist volunteers set up stations in designated areas throughout the park to assist our education staff by providing educational information to the guests frequenting those hot spots.

Twelve special projects volunteers, including Feeder Watch, administrative, 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, our volunteers become that much more critical to the experience that we strive to provide our guests.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to Blue Mesa Grill for catering the dinner and Crude Coffee and Bakery for providing the dessert, both courtesy of the Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge.

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

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