Food, Gifts, and Thanks for Community Partners
“This has certainly been an interesting year! Many of the things we are used to doing have had to be adjusted to the times, including our Annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner!” said Erika Scarborough, Volunteer Coordinator at the John Heinz NWR at Tinicum. In early November, the refuge staff honored its loyal volunteers by hosting its first-ever “Drive Through” Volunteer Appreciation Celebration!
“About 70 of our much-appreciated volunteers drove through the Refuge parking area at 8601 Lindbergh Blvd. to safely pick up a great meal, special gifts, and abundant smiles from our staff,” added Lamar Gore, manager of the country’s first and largest urban national park.
“With the Cusano Center and our offices closed due to the pandemic, this was a great opportunity for our staff to stay in touch with vitally important volunteers and supporters – as well as to say thank you for their year-around efforts,” the effervescent Refuge manager added.
Mr. Gore also mentioned that activities are continuing for their community helpers. The “Weed Warriors” are still painstakingly removing invasive plant species from the woods through which the Refuge’s quiet trails wind. “We have dug in more that 17,000 indigenous plants this fall to revitalize the refuge grounds and provide food and habitat for our bird and animal friends,” Gore added.
A brief visit to the Heinz Refuge on Thanksgiving weekend was equally revealing. Despite the curtailment of in-person programs and activities, the parking lot was overflowing from Friday to Sunday and area residents took advantage of the seasonable weather to walk the trails and dikes. On the various open water areas visitors were able to spot half a dozen species of ducks and perching high in the trees, the refuge’s resident Eagle!
To find out more about the virtual online courses and learning opportunities, visit the refuge website at www.fws.gov/refuge/john_heinz/
The Heinz website also provides information on how to join the “Friends of Heinz Refuge,” join in their projects, and provide support.