Volunteer Spotlight: Ilene Shatkin

Our Volunteer of the Month for May is Ilene Shatkin.

Ilene is one of the kindest and most dedicated volunteers we’ve ever had. Ilene has specifically volunteered with the Orchidteers which is a group we established in 2017. When you see the orchids we have here in the gardens, you understand why the Orchidteers are such an integral part of Flamingo Gardens. Ilene is a major part of that group. In her time since becoming a volunteer she has already volunteered about 850 hours of her time and with the consistency she displays those hours are always climbing. We are lucky to have her and she is extremely valued. It is so important to have volunteers like her.

Quiet Hour with the Dinosaurs

Flamingo Gardens is introducing a serene and inclusive experience for visitors with sensory sensitivities. Every Tuesday, from 9am to 10am, the gardens will host “Quiet Hour with the Dinosaurs.” During this special time, the sound and motion of the animatronic dinosaurs will be turned off, allowing guests to explore the lush landscapes in a tranquil environment.

This thoughtful initiative ensures that everyone can enjoy the beauty and wonder of Flamingo Gardens without the potential overwhelm of loud noises and sudden movements. Visitors can wander through the gardens, soaking in the natural sounds of birds chirping and leaves rustling, creating a peaceful and immersive experience.

“Quiet Hour with the Dinosaurs” is a perfect opportunity for families and individuals who prefer a calmer setting to connect with nature and enjoy the impressive dinosaur displays at their own pace. Whether you’re a regular visitor or planning your first trip, this inclusive hour offers a unique and considerate way to experience Flamingo Gardens.

Join us every Tuesday at 9am for a tranquil journey through time and nature, designed with sensory sensitivities in mind. Discover the harmony of the past and present in a space where everyone can feel comfortable and welcome.

Volunteer Spotlight: Aliyah Guerrero

The Volunteer of the Month for April is Aliyah Guerrero. Aliyah started volunteering less than 2 months ago but already has about 80 hours completed. She always has a smile on her face and does every job exactly how we need. Most notably she has been seen as a guide in our Wray. Aliyah was willing to step up at a time where we really needed her and fill in the gaps to help us continue to move in an organized manner and we are so thankful to her for that. 

Eco-teers: April Adventures and Future Endeavors

Greetings, fellow eco-enthusiasts! It’s time for a peek behind the scenes of our EcoTeers initiatives. As we navigate through April and into May, our calendar has been bustling with activity and anticipation. Here’s a snapshot of what’s been happening and what lies ahead:

Earth Day Reflections:

While Earth Day events were not on our immediate agenda due to a flurry of other eco-engagements, the spirit of environmental stewardship thrives within our EcoTeers community. Instead, we channeled our energy into a special project, collaborating with Dominique on her pollinator garden. It’s an extra endeavor that aligns perfectly with the ethos of Earth Day – nurturing our precious pollinators and celebrating the interconnectedness of all living beings.

Outreach and Recruitment:

April 6th marked an exciting opportunity for outreach as we manned a booth alongside Beth Jarvis. Our mission? To recruit passionate volunteers for upcoming events, including the Orchid and Bonsai Festivals. Engaging with high school and college environmental groups opened doors for future collaborations, amplifying the impact of our projects and fostering a sense of community among environmental advocates.

Climate Conversations and Eco-Art:

Looking ahead, mark your calendars for Saturday, April 27th! We’re thrilled to be part of a Climate Conversation Seminar at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center. With the generous support of the Community Foundation of Broward and other donors, this event promises to ignite meaningful discussions and inspire action. Plus, we’ll have the opportunity to delve into the world of eco-art, exploring creative avenues for environmental advocacy.

Upcoming EcoTeer Project:

May holds even more excitement in store! On May 11th, join us at Flamingo Park Hall for an EcoTeer project dedicated to creating a wildlife-friendly habitat. Together, we’ll learn and lend a hand in attracting and reintroducing local butterflies, insects, and birds. Don’t miss out – registration is required, so reach out to Ashley Vieira at [email protected]g for more information.

Expressing Gratitude:

Last but certainly not least, a heartfelt thank you to the Community Foundation of Broward. Your support fuels our endeavors and amplifies our impact within the community. Look out for a revised “Thank you” in your inbox soon – it’s our small way of expressing immense gratitude for your partnership in our mission.

As we bid farewell to April and embrace the opportunities that May brings, let’s continue to tread lightly on this beautiful planet we call home. Together, as EcoTeers, we have the power to enact change, one project, one conversation, one step at a time.

Until next time, let’s keep the green spirit alive and thriving!

Volunteer Spotlight: Cecilia Anzalone

Our Volunteer of the Month for March is Cecilia Anzalone. Ci Ci as she is commonly referred too is as dedicated as a volunteer as we’ve ever had. She has volunteered over 1500 hours and has done it everywhere. Cecilia works weekly with our Orchidteers, and our Gift Shop. She is also heavily involved with our bee keeping projects. She regularly spends time assisting animal care. When called upon she can be asked to volunteer in any department and get the task at hand taken care of. When Cecilia is available, departments are eager to have her volunteer with them because of the exemplary work that she always does. She is integral to some many of the different things that we do here and she as a volunteer is the embodiment of our mission. We are so lucky to have her.

Eco-teers: Environmental Stewardship

In the spirit of environmental awareness and community engagement, Flamingo Gardens recently hosted a series of events aimed at promoting water conservation and combating invasive plant species. Here’s a brief recap of the activities that took place:

March 9th – “Water Matters Month” Event at Tree Tops Park:

The Flamingo Gardens EcoTeers, alongside representatives from the Horticulture/Education department, set up separate booths at Tree Tops Park. The EcoTeers were on a mission to educate the public about water conservation while also recruiting volunteers for various outreach programs. It was a collaborative effort to spread awareness and inspire action towards preserving our precious water resources.

March 13th – Invasive Plant Removal with NSU:

Led by Professor Kevin Dibert, a group of 11 volunteers from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) joined forces with Flamingo Gardens to tackle the removal of “Wandering Dude” invasive plants along the tram trail and by the back lake. This hands-on approach to conservation not only helped in preserving the native ecosystem but also strengthened the bond between the community and nature.

March 22nd-24th – Rainwater Collection for a Cause:

In a proactive move to harness natural resources, two barrels were strategically placed within the gardens to collect rainwater during a thunderstorm. The collected water, totaling an impressive 35-40 gallons, will be repurposed and donated to Sue Chalmers, who leads a reconstruction project at Southgate Meadows. This initiative not only showcases Flamingo Gardens’ commitment to sustainability but also underscores the importance of resourcefulness in environmental stewardship.

If you would like to join the Eco-teers and help make an impact in our community against pollution and climate change, contact Ashley at [email protected] or call 954-473-2955 for more information. For more information about the Eco-teers go to:

Volunteer Spotlight: Lorenzo Cassina

Our volunteer of the month for February is Lorenzo Cassina. Lorenzo has been an integral part of not only the Flamingo Gardens Volunteer team but for Flamingo Gardens as a whole. Lorenzo can most notably be seen with a camera in his hand at any part of our 60 acre garden. He is a pioneer of all things photography here and if you’ve been here, you’ve seen his work before. Whether it be for our various events, our botanical collection, or even the volunteers and staff themselves, Lorenzo has captured it all. He has been committed to using his gift for the betterment of Flamingo Gardens for 12 years and counting now. In this decade plus Lorenzo has volunteered for over 3,400 hours. He calls them his Happy Hours and we are thankful that he is always so radiant and willing to inject positivity into everyone he encounters here. From our Camera Club to his freelance work so much of his artistry has ben gifted to us and we want to let him know just how much we appreciate his efforts, his consistency, and his presence. Thank you Lorenzo.

Volunteer Spotlight: Christian Tibbs

Our Volunteer of the month is Christian Tibbs. 

Christian only started volunteering in late November but has already contributed over 275 hours of his time. In January alone he has volunteered for over 120 hours. Christian is commonly seen in our gift shop greeting and assisting with the organization of inventory but also been a guide for our bat exhibit. He has helped with set ups for our events department, and even spent some time working in the café. He is always ready and willing and that is why we are so lucky to have him. Christian always has a smile on his face and is a perfect representation of a Flamingo Gardens Volunteer.

Volunteer Spotlight: Luis Avendano

Our volunteer of the month is Luis Avendano. Luis always been ready and willing to do anything as a volunteer for Flamingo Gardens. When we say anything, we mean anything. Luis can be seen volunteering in every department imaginable, whether be assisting at the Café, cleaning the tram, picking up or composting, regulating parking, garden guiding, as well as so much more monthly. Luis has helped our Gift Shop, Food Services, Events, Rentals, Maintenance, Horticulture, and Animal Care Department. In particular this month he has worked diligently to ensure smooth operations for our Garden of Lights in which he has already given consecutive days and nights too us. Luis has volunteered over 460 hours here and is poised to do even more. We are very lucky to have him.


Volunteer Spotlight: Leland Upshaw

Our Volunteer of the Month for November is Leland Upshaw. Leland recently started volunteering here at Flamingo Gardens but has been apart of the Flamingo Gardens family for years. If you have been to Flamingo Gardens in the last month there is a big chance you’ve walked through those doors and been greeted by him. We love to have volunteers that provide the most pleasant experience for our guests and that is why Leland volunteering in Guest Services has been such an asset. He has volunteered 60 hours for us and has allowed everyone to better enjoy being here. Even our staff have taken to the positive and productive mindset Leland provides. Thank you for continuing a legacy of excellence in our guest services department.