VERO BEACH - Pelican Island Audubon Society is looking for volunteers for many programs and events.

Some opportunities are outdoors, such as guiding kayak tours, helping grow trees, or caring for the PIAS butterfly garden. Others are indoors, helping with administrative activities, outreach, and special events.

“People find meaning and social joy at the Audubon House working together as volunteers, who are essential to so many of our programs,” PIAS President Richard Baker, Ph.D., told Hometown News.

“PIAS will continue as the preeminent voice for conservation in Indian River County by educating local governments and citizenry to make conservation a priority in balancing the environmental, economic and social forces at work in our community.”

“To do this,” Dr. Baker said, “we need office help, greeters, helpers, citizen scientists, folks to clean rooms, tend gardens and greenhouse plants, provide cookies, and soft drinks at our meetings, and lead field trips. Our volunteers are critical to our success and contributions to our community.”

One program volunteers work on is Audubon Advocates, a tuition-free afterschool program studying lagoon science for 5th-12th grade students, focusing on disadvantaged students and their families.

An expanded Audubon Adventure Camp for at-risk 6th-12th graders provides programs on weekends and during school breaks. Students participate in kayaking, bird watching, wildlife and plant identification, hiking, and science education.

Another program led by volunteers is Trees for Life. These volunteers learn about native plants and care for trees and the butterfly garden. This project aims to plant 100,000 new native trees in Indian River County over the next 15 years.

“Our volunteers and donors are dedicated to preserving and protecting the animals, plants, and natural communities, and the land and water on which they depend, through education, advocacy, and public awareness,” Dr. Baker said.

“Our vision that everyone cares deeply about is an ecosystem that sustains and nurtures native communities of plants and animals and provides for the health and happiness of all people.”

Volunteer shifts are available all hours and days, for all different skill sets and interests.

Tasks in need of volunteers include building maintenance, publicity, greeter for events and meetings, boat assistant, scientific research assistant, native plant gardening, and cooking/catering.

People are also needed to teach courses and write grant applications.

“Each board member is also a volunteer that brings their professional skills, e.g. scientist, teacher, librarian, social worker, retired principal, ecological economist, musician, accounting, business, property and building maintenance, and gardening skills,” Dr. Baker said. “They work together as a team to accomplish our marvelous Audubon Advocate afterschool, Trees for Life and other programs, in addition to all the other public events, courses, field trips.”

To learn more, contact PIAS at (772) 567-3520 or visit www.PelicanIslandAudubon.org, where you can fill out the volunteer form to indicate your interests.

Pelican Island Audubon Society is located at 195 9th St. Southeast, Vero Beach.

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