Volunteer of the Year!

February 3, 2021

We are thrilled to announce Robb Turner as SHR’s 2020 volunteer of the year.  This is Robb’s second year in a row to earn this honor and we are mighty fortunate to have him as a community member in Lake Toxaway and as volunteer on our SHR team.

Robb has been volunteering at the Reserve since 2018 and this year alone, he completed over 100 volunteer hours.  He is a PhD geologist who worked for Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Oak Ridge Associated Universities, studying and advising many federal agencies on energy and environmental issues, ranging from contaminant transport to conservation of endangered species.  Robb grew up gardening with his grandfather, developed a passion for plants, both native species and horticultural varieties, and developed a keen understanding of their place in diverse landscapes.  He retired to Lake Toxaway with his wife, Sybil, two dogs, and a cat.  He enjoys hiking, camping, and photography, and visits every garden and natural area he can.  Thank you, Robb!

In 2012, we begin developing our volunteer program by training a few volunteers.  Since then, we have built a steady team of volunteers that assist SHR staff in the gardens, at the nursery, and in the office.  We formalized our volunteer program in 2020, only to find ourselves cancelling and rescheduling most plans like everyone else on the globe.  In June, we were able to open up the gardens for visitors and volunteers to return, and return they did! Every Wednesday we host a volunteer day, and our docent volunteers work other days to help accommodate the increased demand for tours.  While last March may have looked scary and bleak, we soon realized that access to nature and community is vital to humans.  The success of our year is greatly due in part to the amazing support from our volunteers.  Thank you to everyone that helped the Reserve grow this year, our gardens ran on volunteer power!

If you are interested in joining the SHR team as a volunteer this season, please follow this link (https://shrmigrate.wpengine.com/volunteer/) and feel free to email info@southernhighlandsreserve.org with questions.  We are planning our 2021 Volunteer training for March and look forward to seeing some new faces!