Volunteer Spotlight, Richard and Joan Becker

Image of Richard and Joan Becker standing outside a Talbot Island ranger station.

Richard and Joan Becker

Little Talbot Island State Park

Richard and Joan Becker have lived in Florida since October of 2010. After moving to their new home, they quickly became involved in the Florida Master Naturalist Courses at the University of North Florida, where they were able to foster their love of scientific discovery. They moved on to complete a 2-week long Red Knot beach-usage study jointly for Audubon Florida and Talbot Islands State Parks. Finally, they were invited to conduct weekly shorebird surveys in the parks (an opportunity which they quickly jumped on), and have been doing them ever since!

As citizen scientists, Richard and Joan collect and share data for banded Piping Plovers and Red Knots often seen wintering on Talbot Island beaches. Over the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holiday weekends, they help to conduct early morning Sea Turtle Patrols and spend the days bird stewarding to protect critical nesting habitat from boaters and beach goers, something they say is an exhausting yet rewarding experience. Occasionally, the Beckers have the opportunity to collect a wounded or sick shorebird or seabird in the course of their work, and can bring them to the B.E.A.K.s wildlife hospital for rehabilitation and re-release.

Both Beckers are avid hobby birders and love to travel internationally. They say that being able to witness the shorebird and seabird usage of Talbot Island beaches on a regular basis has been a great experience and honor while volunteering for Florida State Parks.

Talbot Island beaches are unique, mostly remote and a never-ending source of discoveries, and the Beckers are very grateful to have this opportunity!

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