Department of the Interior
|Office of the Secretary||
Contact: Kathryn Harrington
|EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Oct. 23, 2004||
Interior Department and State Launch Take Pride in Florida Project to Help Hurricane Ravaged Public Lands
70 events around the state today
HONEYMOON ISLAND STATE PARK, DUNEDIN, FL -- National Park Service Director Fran Mainella and Take Pride in America Executive Director Marti Allbright, today unveiled the first of five mobile volunteer centers-trailers equipped with donated generators and filled with supplies that will be used to rehabilitate hurricane-ravaged areas in Florida and other public lands. .
At one of 70 "Take Pride in Florida" events around the state today, Mainella and Allbright joined Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Colleen Castille at Florida's Honeymoon Island State Park near Tampa. They pitched in as part of the statewide volunteer cleanup. For information on other events, see http://www.dep.state.fl.us/takepride/volunteers/events.htm.
The Mobile Volunteer Depot Project is made possible by a growing list of Take Pride partners, including The Walt Disney Company, Cummins, Featherlite, NASCAR, ReserveAmerica, Unilever and Zodiac. The volunteer depots are tow-able units stocked with supplies needed by volunteers such as shovels, rakes and other hand tools; potable water containers; and powered by an Onan generator (donated by Cummins).
"Our nation's treasured lands and waters attract more than one billion visits annually. Maintaining the infrastructure needed to serve these visitors well is possible only through the active assistance of volunteers. Sites in need of volunteer help often lack basic tools," Director Mainella said. "I'm pleased the Take Pride in America Charter Partners have initiated a nationally significant pilot effort to meet this need."
Through the Take Pride in America Charter Partners Council, five Take Pride Mobile Volunteer Depots will be made available for use across the country. The first fully furnished unit was unveiled today The other units will be dispersed over the next year to supply volunteer clean up events.
The trailers will bear the Take Pride in America and Take Pride in Florida logos as well as the names of the corporate and public sector partners in this program. In addition, the Mobile Volunteer Depots will highlight information about public lands and information about becoming a public lands volunteer. This is a pilot effort that will be replicated across the country in the coming year.
"I'm thrilled to with the continued generosity and support of our partners," said Take Pride in America Executive Director Marti Allbright. "These units will be a tremendous help to countless volunteers in Florida and other sites in desperate need of basic tools and equipment."
"Public land volunteer coordinators face many challenges in attracting and managing volunteers," remarked Take Pride Partners Council Chairman Derrick Crandall. "Sites in great need of volunteer assistance often lack enough equipment to fully empower their volunteers, especially at the growing number of larger volunteer events like National Public Lands Day, National Make a Difference Day, National Trails Day, and National River Clean-Up Week. It is impractical for each site to maintain a large cache of shovels, rakes, gloves, wheelbarrows, power tools, water containers, check-in tables, and more. Our MVDs will supply the equipment needed, conveniently delivered and capable of operating effectively far from permanent support structures or at sites where storms or fires have temporarily interrupted power."
Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Castille welcomed thousands of volunteers to Florida's public lands at the first volunteer effort of Take Pride in Florida. Begun this month by Governor Jeb Bush, the statewide volunteer program protects and preserves America's public lands and fosters a culture of service in others.
Thousands of volunteers were
expected participated in the more than 70 inaugural volunteer events
statewide. In addition to service pledges from individual volunteers,
the Florida Trail Association pledged 60,000 hours of service from their
members and Good Sams Club pledged 1,000 hours of service. Interested
volunteers can submit a pledge online at www.takepride.info.
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