Peggy and Helmut Albrecht are the recipients of the Volunteer Team of Two of the Year Award for Administration.
Peggy and Helmut Albrecht started volunteering at Fort Clinch State Park in 2017 when Peggy began working as a greeter in the ranger station. The Albrechts have a combined total of 2,700 volunteer hours.
The Albrechts volunteer in the ranger station and as camp hosts in the campground. They also volunteer for camper registration and help campers check in when they arrive at the park. As a result, the Albrechts can now handle all duties at the ranger station, professionally and with a smile.
Their knowledge of park operations and procedures allows them to easily answer questions and help visitors with many types of questions. It is apparent through their attention to detail how much the Albrechts love Fort Clinch State Park.
Volunteer Spotlight, Invader Raiders
The Invader Raiders are the recipients of the Volunteer Team of 3+ Award for Protection.
The Invader Raiders work as an exotic plant elimination team to remove Russian thistle., an invasive plant that grows all over the beaches at Fort Clinch and Amelia Island. The prickly plant severely weakens the dune systems and makes the beaches prone to erosion.
This dedicated group of 20 people would meet biweekly to make our beaches even more enjoyable for visitors. Bev Lawrence leads the group and always offers her time, hard work and expertise.
The beach was divided into five sections, and the group would focus on one section at a time, then repeat. As time progressed, the plants were easier to see and harder to extract. The race was on to remove the thistle before it began to seed by the end of summer. In 2020 the Invader Raiders removed 594 plants; in 2021 they removed 5,342 plants; and in 2022 they removed 6,962 plants.
The volunteer group started at the Fernandina Beach Department of Parks and Recreation to focus on exotic plant removal throughout Amelia Island. Bev approached Fort Clinch about working the beach within the park’s borders, and they also work the beach outside the borders. This partnership between the city of Fernandina Beach and Fort Clinch State Park benefits all the beaches on the island. Removing the invasive plants is a never-ending job.
The impact is seen on the beach every day. The thistle is not there, and the dunes are growing stronger thanks to the Invader Raiders.