Timucuan Parks Foundation joined the City of Jacksonville for the 27th Annual Jacksonville Environmental Awards Luncheon at University of North Florida’s Adam W. Herbert University Center. This year, TPF chose three individuals to receive environmental awards. Craig Morris, a supervisory park ranger with the National Park Service, was chosen for the 2019 Willie Browne Stewardship Award. City Council Member Lori Boyer was chosen for the 2019 Kathyrn Abbey Hanna Award of Merit and Joanne Mattingly was chosen as the 2019 Volunteer of the Year Award winner.
“These individuals were all chosen for their dedication to our local parks and preserves,” said Mark Middlebrook, executive director of TPF. “We rely on our park partners, volunteers and the community to support our city’s first-class network of parks and preserves. The work these individuals have accomplished for our natural spaces has been exemplary and we are happy to honor them with these awards.”
Top: Bob Hays, Kathy Stark, Felicia Boyd, Todd Sack
Bottom: Mayda Velez, Daryl Joseph (COJ), Nicole Spradley (Councilmember Lori Boyer’s assistant), Mike Buresh (event MC), Chris Hughes (NPS Timucuan Preserve Superintendent), Joanne Mattingly (TPF Vol of the Year), Maria Mark, Mark Middlebrook
Chris Hughes, superintendent of the National Park Service’s Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, received the award on behalf of Morris. Morris has served as a ranger at Fort Caroline National Monument since 1987. He is a familiar face to those who visit the park and is dedicated to telling the stories of Jacksonville’s early history including that of the Huguenots of Fort Caroline who hold a unique place in American history as the first to come to North America seeking religious freedom. Morris was the first interpretative ranger at Theodore Roosevelt Area which is made up of 600 acres of hardwoods and wetlands donated by Willie Browne and Morris’ extensive history with the park service includes a chance encounter with Browne.
“The Timucuan Parks Foundation believes it is important to remind Jacksonville’s residents of our area’s rich and diverse history,’ said Bob Hays, TPF board chair. “Craig has dedicated his professional career to telling our history and the Foundation is honored to recognize him for his efforts.”
The Honorable Lori Boyer is the second recipient of the Kathryn Abbey Hanna Award of Merit. Her assistant, Nicole Spradley, received the award on her behalf. Council Member Boyer was recognized for her critical leadership to reenergize the efforts to provide access to the St. Johns River and for creating the Waterways-Waterfront Activation effort resulting in a much-needed focus on the river. The group has worked to improve the Riverwalks, boat ramps and kayak launches and to create new websites to improve access. Through her leadership, Boyer also helped improve access and visitor experience to the hundreds of miles of tributaries that are part of a network of preserves managed by the Timucuan Trail State and National Parks, a partnership of the City of Jacksonville, the National Park Service and the Florida Park Service.
“Partnerships are critical to the success of our emerging network of parks and preserves,” said Hays. “Ms. Boyer provided essential leadership to refocus partnership efforts and the TPF board is honored to recognize her for her efforts.”
The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Joanne Mattingly for her extraordinary contribution to maintaining Timucuan parks and preserves and for her contribution to TPF’s education and outreach efforts. Mattingly is the second recipient of this award. She has served as a team leader in coordinating and leading shoreline cleanups and trail maintenance projects for TPF and has represented the organization as a site captain at the annual St. Johns River and International Coastal Cleanups. She participates in awareness campaigns and helps lead healthy living walks and service learning projects for a variety of groups.
“Joanne is professional, enthusiastic and hard-working and we absolutely need her and other volunteers of her caliber,” said Felicia Boyd, TPF program and outreach director. “We appreciate her time and talents and her drive to engage and give back to the community. Our parks cannot survive without her and our other dedicated volunteers.”
TPF, along with its other nonprofit partners, organizes thousands of hours of volunteer efforts every year to help local parks and preserves keep a high standard for visitors. Each year, the organization recognizes an individual for their stewardship efforts and last year renamed the award for Willie Browne. Last year, TPF also added the Kathryn Abbey Hanna Award of Merit and the Volunteer of the Year Award to the annual awards luncheon.
About Timucuan Parks Foundation
The Timucuan Parks Foundation is a nonprofit organization that preserves, promotes and protects Jacksonville’s vast network of preservation parks. The foundation originated in 1999 with the Preservation Project Jacksonville, Inc. to identify and assist in acquiring the most vulnerable and environmentally sensitive lands in Duval County. The acquisition of lands created the largest urban park system in the United States. The Timucuan Parks Foundation works with park partners, including the National Park Service, Florida State Parks and the City of Jacksonville, to promote environmental stewardship, the health benefits of the parks and preserves, and an appreciation for Jacksonville’s special outdoor spaces. For more information, visit timucuanparks.org.