Kathy and Dusty Dusterwinkle are Michiganders who are spending their 6th year as resident volunteers at the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. This year they arrived in December and will head back in early May.
They report that their time is spent on assignments including picking up trash (and sadly lots of it) on the Dixie Mainline and Shired Island boat launches, cleaning the Shired Island outhouse, repairing the lookout deck at Fishbone Creek, scraping and sanding of gates at various locations and mowing and brushing at various locations. Unfortunately, there has also been recent vandalism along the Dixie Mainline for them to repair.
Their own words sum up the importance of their contributions: “We do our best to be a Refuge presence and we like to tell our family and friends that we are God’s gardeners over here. It’s a most beautiful place and we seek to keep it looking that way.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s National Wildlife Refuge System, comprised of approximately 550 refuges throughout the country, has a robust volunteer program for people looking for opportunities to work along-side refuge or hatchery staff. The program is designed for people who want to further conservation, learn more about nature and share their love of the outdoors. Volunteers, also known as resident volunteers, have a beautiful place to live for a period of time and are able to explore and experience the refuge or hatchery, as well as the local area. And, in return, the refuge or hatchery gains valuable volunteer assistance.
We are fortunate to currently have outstanding resident volunteers at our refuges.
Buzz and Donna Coller, from Wisconsin, have been providing support on the Levy County side. The Collers arrived in Florida to work at, and camp in, Florida state parks, but due to the COVID-19 closure mandates, they sought volunteer work with the Refuge. They’ve assisted staff on repairing and replacing signs that have been stolen or damaged, replacing the deck on the education building, as well as treating and sealing the outside of the log cabin.
Robin and Rick Gallup arrived on the scene from out West in April for their stint as resident volunteers and quickly lent much-needed hands to projects already underway. The Collers report that the log cabin would never have been finished so fast without the Gallups' help.
Needless to say, the NWRS Volunteer Program has been a tremendous asset to our facilities.
For more information on the NWRS Volunteer Program visit www.volunteer.gov
The Refuge is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Due to coronavirus concerns, the headquarters building is closed to visitors. However, staff are working as usual and the Refuge is open for appropriate recreational uses including boating, hiking, fishing, biking, and birding.
The Refuge Manager Andrew Gude can be reached by text or phone at 703.622.3896.
Hunting Information from the Refuge Manager
The print version of the 2020-2021 Hunt Regulations Brochure is now available. For a digital version,
click on the photo below. A current LSNWR Hunt Brochure, signed by the hunter, must be in his or her possession when hunting. The brochure includes websites to obtain hunting permits and required harvest reports.
For a Summary of the 2020-2021
Hunt Season Schedule,
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