Biscayne National Park Volunteers Win National Award

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Date: June 26, 2014
Contact: Gary Bremen, 305-230-1144, x007

The Coastal Cleanup Corporation, a nonprofit organization which addresses the issue of marine debris and its impacts on wildlife (particularly sea turtles), is the winner of the George and Helen Hartzog Award for Group Volunteer Service. Founded by George and Suzy Pappas, Coastal Cleanup Corporation removed more than 12,000 pounds of marine debris from sea turtle nesting beaches last year. George and Suzy have provided more than 800 volunteer hours themselves, in addition to leading and inspiring more than 400 Alternative Spring Break volunteers who provided 2,500 hours toward shoreline cleanup in the park.

The Hartzog Awards were presented at a ceremony last night in Washington, DC, and the Pappas's were also treated to a tour of National Park Service sites including the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial and the National Mall, as well as a personalized tour of the US Capitol building from Joshua Salpeter, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's legislative director.

"George and Suzy Pappas have a deep passion and dedication to protecting sea turtles and their habitat at Biscayne National Park," said Brian Carlstrom, the park's superintendent. "Today, they were recognized for their dedication as volunteers with the highest NPS volunteer award. Not only does the park staff thank you George and Suzy, but the sea turtles send their thanks, too."

The Hartzog Awards are named for former National Park Service Director George B. Hartzog, Jr. who started the Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP) Program in 1970 with 300 participants. Last year, more than 246,000 volunteers donated 6.7 million hours of time and talent to help preserve and protect national parks.

"Each year, volunteers make extraordinary contributions across the National Park System. The George and Helen Hartzog Awards honor the distinguished group of individuals who proudly give of themselves to make the National Park Service a stronger and more vibrant institution," said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. "This award recognizes the great legacy started by George Hartzog and carried on today by his wife Helen and embodied by the passionate people giving back to America's national parks."

Photos and additional information about the Hartzog Awards are available at For regular updates from the park, "like" us on Facebook at , or follow us on Twitter at

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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