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Contact: Kevin Bowles Mohr, 305-242-7752
Contact: General Park Information, 305-242-7700
Contact: Mary Plumb, Public Affairs Officer (Acting), 305-242-7714
HOMESTEAD, FL: Everglades National Park's nationally award winning volunteer program is hosting an event for National Park Service Volunteers-in-Parks Day, this Saturday, April 27, 2013. The volunteer event is at the park's historic Nike Missile Site, one of America's best preserved sites from the Cold War Era and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Although Everglades National Park was established to protect wildlife, in response to the gravity of the situation, park managers issued the U.S. Army a permit to build the base within the park. Official military use was terminated in 1979. It is now listed on the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Register of Historic Places. Volunteers are invited to join park staff to help preserve and restore for future generations this site that holds such an important place in the history of our nation and the world.
Volunteer Project: Due to the rapid growth of vegetation in Everglades National Park, regular maintenance is required to prevent damage to the infrastructure. Volunteers will remove brush and weeds from the fence line, launch site, and berms surrounding the missile barns. Attending volunteers will also enjoy taking part in a guided tour of the Nike Missile Site.
Volunteers will meet at 9:00 a.m. in the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center parking lot. Participants are required to wear long-sleeved shirts, sneakers, and long pants to protect against exposure to sun, biting insects, poisonwood, and ivy, and are asked to please bring a lunch, water bottle, hat, and sunglasses. Participating volunteers will receive a free entry pass, enabling each volunteer to visit the Everglades again and share this unique National Park with their family and friends.
Directions: Address of Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center: 40001 SR 9336, Homestead, FL 33034.
Volunteers coming from the Miami area and northern destinations should take the Florida Turnpike (Route 821) south until it ends merging with U.S.1 at Florida City. Turn right at the first traffic light onto Palm Drive (State Road 9336/SW 344th St.) and follow the signs to the park. The Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center will be on the right.
Volunteer Program: Everglades National Park's volunteer program has been recognized nationally as the recipient of the Hartzog Park Program Volunteer Service Award. To be eligible to receive this prestigious national award, the nominee must provide service above and beyond required policies. Everglades National Park's volunteer program was recognized for taking several strategic steps to increase public awareness and interest in the Volunteers-in-Park (VIP) program. In the last five years, Everglades National Park's volunteer program has seen a 150 percent increase in volunteers and nearly a growth of 50 percent in contributed hours, due to its strategic planning and focused collaboration. Through collaboration with Biscayne National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve, more than 300 student volunteers contributed more than 5,000 hours in two months.
According to Everglades National Park Superintendent Dan Kimball, "As a result of the leadership of our park staff and the hard work of dedicated volunteers, our VIP's are indispensable and inseparable from the operations of Everglades National Park. Thanks to the contributions of these private citizens, the national parks are more than America's best idea. They represent America at its best."
In 1970, when Director Hartzog started the National Park Service volunteer program, there were about 300 participants. Last year, more than 257,000 volunteers of all ages, from all over the country, and the world, donated 6.7 million hours of their time to help preserve and protect the national parks they love.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.