Volunteer Spotlight, Phyllis Mitchell

Volunteers Phyllis and Bob Mitchell

Phyllis Mitchell

San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park

Phyllis and her husband, Bob, moved to the Keys permanently in 1999. Seeking information on native plants, Phyllis found expert advice at the state parks and from Karen Sunderland, president of the Friends of the Islamorada Area State Parks, a citizens support organization. Soon after, Phyllis and Bob started volunteering with the friends group, running plant sales, Lignumvitae Christmas and other fundraisers. Phyllis has been on the friends board for 15 years, serving the last 10 years as vice president. She also has served as chair of the Adopt A Highway cleanup committee for six years.

Phyllis says her favorite fundraiser is Lignumvitae Christmas. “Every year the island of Lignumvitae and its 1930s house is decorated with homemade ornaments and decorations like angels made from palm fronds.  Children are encouraged to make ornaments with painted sea beans and other native, natural items. Musicians welcome guests to the island and are served Key lime punch, coffee and homemade cookies. It’s a tradition many locals have attended for years, and visitors are always welcome. A large boat from Robbie’s Marina arrives and leaves all day. Individual boats are also welcome and can tie up at the docks.”

Phyllis also said that getting to know the Park Rangers is another asset of friends membership. “These are truly dedicated, wonderful people and it’s an absolute pleasure to work with them.”

According to Phyllis, “There are so many wonderful aspects to our parks and we know they will be safely held for generations to come. How much better could you spend your volunteer time?” Learn more about the Friends of the Islamorada Area State Parks and how you can get involved.

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