Big Thicket National Preserve Welcomes a Community Volunteer Ambassador

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Date: May 18, 2018
Contact: Brooke Wheelock, 409-951-6725

Big Thicket National Preserve welcomes Nate Zantzinger of suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to the team. He is one of 52 recent college graduates working in a national park this year to “Get Things Done” as an AmeriCorps Community Volunteer Ambassador. Zantzinger will spend a year working with park partners and local neighboring communities to organize volunteer events and activities across all seven Southeast Texas counties were the preserve is located. 

“Nate continues the long legacy of young people devoted to conservation stewardship,” said Big Thicket National Preserve Superintendent Wayne Prokopetz. “His enthusiasm will be a great asset as he creates volunteer opportunities in the preserve over the next year.”

The Community Volunteer Ambassadors (CVA) Program is a partnership between the National Park Service, Northwest Youth Corps, and Conservation Legacy. The program provides work and training opportunities to young adults ages 21 to 30 in national parks throughout the country. Each of the 52 CVAs will work in collaboration with local communities to mobilize volunteer groups and individuals to share in the protection of our nation’s natural and cultural resources. 

CVAs will support a wide variety of park operations and programs that address the priorities of the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, and local communities. Activities include facilities and trail maintenance, research and education, health and recreation, and disaster services.

CVAs work closely with other National Park Service staff to strengthen community partnerships, recruit others into volunteer service, and coordinate national stewardship events, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, National Volunteer Week, National Trails Day, and National Public Lands Day. More information about volunteering in national parks can be found at

“I’m very excited to learn about Southeast Texas and to work with the community to build stewardship of the preserve,” stated, Zantzinger. “I’m drawn to the dynamic environment and diversity of species found throughout this region of Texas.”

“Experiences like these are truly transformative,” said Conservation Legacy Co-CEO Amy Sovocool. “They instill life skills and character traits that build on one another, strengthen over time, and foster optimal advancement and a service ethic. The partnership creates a skilled and diverse workforce of educated and active citizens, future leaders, and stewards of natural and cultural resources and communities.”

Big Thicket National Preserve is located in Southeast Texas, near the city of Beaumont and 75 miles northeast of Houston. The preserve consists of nine land units and six water corridors encompassing more than 113,000 acres. The Big Thicket, often referred to as a “biological crossroads,” is a transition zone between four distinct vegetation types – the moist eastern hardwood forest, the southwestern desert, the southeastern swamp, and the central prairies. Species from all of these different vegetation types come together in the thicket, exhibiting a variety of vegetation and wildlife that has received global interest. 

For general information about Big Thicket National Preserve, visit or call the preserve visitor center at 409-951-6700. Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Last updated: May 18, 2018

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6044 FM 420
Kountze, TX 77625


(409) 951-6800

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