Volunteer Spotlight, Buffy De Matteis

Image of volunteer Buffy De Matteis standing next to a tree.

Buffy De Matteis

Crystal River Preserve State Park

Hailing from South Portland, Maine, Buffy and her husband Don selected Crystal River as the perfect place to retire to enjoy mild winters and live in an area with ample opportunities to hike, bike and kayak. “I played outside all of my life, but my family wasn't really outdoorsy,” Buffy says. “It was in college when I began hiking and camping with friends that I discovered I liked the outdoors a great deal.”

Buffy knew before they moved to Florida that she was going to eventually volunteer at a park, she just didn’t know where. A decade later her love of wildlife, especially Florida’s manatees, would lead her to where she is today. As a volunteer interpretive guide who has the privilege to share all the knowledge she has gained at two state parks and a national wildlife refuge with visitors from around the world, Buffy seems to have found her calling.

“I am happy when visitors on the boat tour get excited about what we see along the river.  To me, although it’s basically the same trip each day, the subtle differences in the weather, tides and diversity of guests on the boat make it special.” Every day brings something new for Buffy, and she is eager to keep it coming.

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