Volunteer Spotlight, Nathan Collins

volunteer Nate Collins helping with Buoy work

Nathan Collins

San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park

Business owner Nathan Collins works a full-time job but still finds time to volunteer to help the environment. When asked why he chose the Florida Park Service, Nathan said he “wanted a way to offset my carbon footprint. Planting trees and protecting seagrass was one of the best ways I could think of to pursue that goal.”

Not only does Nate volunteer for the native plant nursery at Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, but he also lends an extra hand for seagrass restoration work and outreach at Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park and Indian Key Historic State Park.

Seagrass restoration is urgently needed when there is a serious grounding or deep propeller scar left by a boat traversing shallow water. One of the ways the park conducts restoration is by installing bird stakes in the impacted area. These bird stakes supply a perch for the sea birds, which in turn fertilize the grass below. The increased nutrients help encourage the seagrass to regrow, filling in the scar and stabilizing the underlying sediment.

Nate has also helped maintain and install the mooring buoys inside park waters. Mooring buoys are used so that the seagrass is protected from repeated anchoring in popular boating areas. Inside the state park waters, mooring buoys are located at the San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve, Indian Key Historic State Park, Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park and behind Shell Key. 

During outreach events, Nathan helps educate boaters on the proper use of the mooring balls and best practices to avoid running into the shallow seagrass flats.  

Volunteering at Florida's state parks is a great way to give back to the environment and your community!

Learn how you can get involved