GTM Research Reserve Hosts Volunteer Orientation


The volunteer force is a vital part of the reserve’s daily operation

PONTE VEDRA BEACH – The Guana Tolomato Matanzas (GTM) National Estuarine Research Reserve will host two volunteer orientation events at the Environmental Education Center (EEC). The first orientation will be held on Friday, Feb. 6 at 10 a.m. with the second event scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 28 beginning at 10 a.m. 

Anyone interested in volunteering in a natural setting with a focus on conservation is encouraged to attend. During the orientation, volunteers will learn the background and history of the reserve, along with the expectations and benefits of being a volunteer. A tour of the EEC is also provided. 

“Volunteers are the heart of our organization,” said Michael Shirley, director of the GTM Research Reserve. “They give us the ability to accomplish our management and conservation goals at a faster pace and higher level.”

Each volunteer opportunity, although different, plays an important role at the GTM Research Reserve. Volunteers assist with resource management, ecosystem science, education and administrative activities.

Some of the projects in which volunteers participate are:

  • The Estuary Explorer Program: provide education and information about the reserve and functions of an estuary to second and fourth grade students.
  • Estuaries 101: help with an environmental education program offered to middle and high schools. Students will perform water quality monitoring and fish seining on the lake and river, as well as, beach profiling and sand analysis.
  • Outreach Program Facilitators: assist with off-site events, distribute literature, answer questions about the reserve and present programs to community organizations.
  • Trail Guides: lead groups through the trails while interpreting the history, wildlife and habitats that can be found in the reserve.
  • Invasive Species Control: assist staff with identification and removal of invasive plant species from the reserve. Training is provided.
  • Front Desk Greeter: assist with visitors, answer phones, collect entrance fees and perform clerical duties.

For more information or to register for this event, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Shannon Rininger at 904-823-4500 or email To fill out a volunteer application in advance, click here. 

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