Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast 2024

April 5, 2024

On April 3, we held our annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast at Vi at Bentley Village. Thank you Vi at Bentley for sponsoring and hosting our volunteers for this special recognition breakfast. The morning consisted of a presentation where we recognized and honored our 450 volunteers and their milestones. Additionally, the volunteers provided more than 30,000 hours of service in 2023 which equates to more than $1,000,000 in value of volunteer time.

Sixty years ago, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida was born through the vision of a small group of volunteers, who were committed to protecting some of the most important bays and estuaries in Southwest Florida. These volunteers understood the importance of protecting our water, land, and wildlife at that time and for the future. We owe much to these dedicated volunteers who fought to Preserve our Paradise.

Photo from left to right: George Lawton, Shirley McNally, Augusta Rosenauer, David Wheeler

As we celebrate 60 years, we focus on preserving paradise. What does that really mean? Preserving paradise is a lot more than a slogan. It is a very serious commitment over time, with real consequences if we fail and fantastic benefits if we continue working hard at it together and succeed.

For the past sixty years, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida has been a remarkable force for preserving what makes this area so special. We believe in common sense conservation. We believe in providing solutions, not just opposition, to the most pressing issues in our region.

Photo from left to right: Lisa Gust, Susan Snyder, George Lawton, Jean Hartman, Tuck Nichols, Terri Jump

Our volunteers provide important daily work alongside our staff and interns. They have helped us before, during and after hurricanes. They were there for us during the COVID pandemic. They were there in good weather and bad. We could not do the work we do without them.

The community depends on the Conservancy of Southwest Florida to protect the resources that make our region so unique. We want to thank every single volunteer who has put in the work, time, and passion to continue our mission everyday.

Volunteer of the Year

This year we honored one of our volunteers, Patricia Walrath, as our volunteer of the year. Patricia has been a volunteer at the Conservancy for 10 years. She has passionately worked 3,100 volunteer hours. She has volunteered in many different areas at the Conservancy including administration, horticulture, education, election corps, fairs & festivals, special events, and the von Arx Wildlife Hospital.

Volunteer of the year, Patricia Walrath, honored by Paul Seifert (VP) and Rob Moher (President and CEO)

“What an honor. I’m sure every one of them deserve this along with me. I couldn’t even find one word today, when asked by staff, to describe how I felt about volunteering for the hospital and animal care. I broke down in tears because one word cannot describe how I feel about all the efforts that go into saving the wildlife. Often, I stop my car to save a turtle and have picked up injured animals and taken them to the hospital so they wouldn’t suffer. Some of the things I experience bring joy and laughter and other things bring tears.”

Patricia Walrath, Conservancy’s Volunteer of the Year

Thank you Patricia Walrath for your hard work, passion and crucial support for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.