Volunteers roll up their sleeves to make a difference in one day
BOSTON, April 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Their muscles ached, their shirts were covered in dirt and paint, but the hundreds of travel industry volunteers gathered in Pensacola on March 30 finished a day of hard work with smiles on their faces.
Tourism Cares for Pensacola brought in more than 200 people from 80 different companies from across the U.S. to help restore the travel experience at two sites in Pensacola – The Pensacola Lighthouse and the shoreline of Bayou Texar in Bayview Park.
At the end of the day, participants in the project could put down their paint brushes and brooms and see the difference they had made.
In all, volunteers donated the equivalent of one years' worth of labor in just eight short hours. According to the staff at the Pensacola Lighthouse, Tourism Cares volunteers:
- Painted 4,000 ft. of fence
- Painted the interior of the lighthouse - 23 rooms covering almost 6,000 sq. ft.
- Cleared brush from an area covering 2,400 sq. ft.
- Laid more than 1800 sq. ft. of sod
- Planted 660 jasmine and 48 azalea bushes
A tremendous amount of work was completed, helping to enhance future visitors' experience at the Pensacola Lighthouse. To continue preserving that experience, Tourism Cares also awarded a $5,000 grant to allow for further restoration.
"The Tourism Cares event has been nothing less than amazing. Our organization has approximately 75 members who on average volunteer about 3,000 hours spread out over a year. During a years' time we can accomplish approximately two to three major projects per year. This is appreciated, but pales in comparison to having 200+ volunteers working one day," said Jon Hill, Executive Director, Pensacola Lighthouse.
Jon continued, "I cannot begin to express my feelings of gratitude enough. As the Director of the Lighthouse, my professional and personal life is deeply invested in the preservation of this national landmark. It is heartwarming to see that others in the tourism industry care enough about preserving our shared history to volunteer their time , and gives me hope for not only the Lighthouse, but for all of our cultural heritage sites."
In addition, a group of 30 volunteers spent the day in the sun working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to enhance and stabilize the shoreline of Bayou Texar. At the end of the day, more than 2,500 emergent grasses were planted and 1,000 pounds of invasive species removed.
"Volunteers are a vital asset to FDEP restoration projects and Tourism Cares volunteers rivaled the very best," said Zachary Schang, Environmental Specialist with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. "They made hard labor look easy as smiles gleamed through the soil on their faces."
Tourism Cares for Pensacola is the 10th annual give-back project for Tourism Cares. As part of its mission, Tourism Cares brings the industry together to give back in two major projects throughout the year. The next event is scheduled for September 28, in honor of World Tourism Day, with the project destination to be announced in early May.
Tourism Cares is a 501c(3) non-profit public charity that benefits society by preserving the travel experience for future generations by awarding grants to natural, cultural and historic sites worldwide; by presenting academic and service-learning scholarships to students of hospitality and tourism; and by organizing volunteer efforts to restore tourism-related sites in need of care and rejuvenation. For additional information about Tourism Cares, visit www.tourismcares.org.
SOURCE Tourism Cares