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Friends of Twin Lakes seeks volunteers

Would you like to enjoy the autumn outdoors while helping make the outdoors a little better? You can: Friends of the Twin Lakes State Park (FTLSP), a volunteer organization founded in 2015 to provide nonprofit assistance to Twin Lakes State Park, is accepting new members.

“We are open to volunteers and/ or members of any age or demographic. We have had high school and college students as well as adults of all ages. Our membership is open to individuals, families and organizations. There are many opportunities at the park that could utilize a variety of skills and talents,” Friends President Patty Jones said.

Anyone interested in volunteering must complete an application through the Virginia State Parks website and complete a background check. Volunteers have the opportunity to earn various perks, and their volunteer service may count as work experience when applying for state employment — a nice potential benefit for those looking to change jobs.

They’ll also receive no end of thanks from the park staff. “Their work is vital to our operation,” Twin Lakes State Park Manager Kevin Faubion said. “The Friends support the park through the presentation of interpretive programming, leading project-based maintenance and natural resource opportunities, the planning of community engagement events and in many other ways. Anyone with a passion for the outdoors or who has an interest in a particular park area can find fulfillment through volunteerism and would be a great resource to the Friends of the Twin Lakes and the park.”

“One of our first projects was to build a bench and bird feeding station beside the park office,” Jones said. “Later we partnered with the Margaret Watson Bird Club of Farmville to include bird-friendly vegetation at the site. We have also sponsored many events including Sept. 11 memorial events, a music festival and youth events. One of our members recently displayed a collection of Native American artifacts at the park.”

Of course, Jones had plenty of good things to say about the Friends’ reason for being.

“Twin Lakes State Park is something of a hidden gem in the heart of Virginia,” she said. “It offers swimming, fishing, boating, a large picnic area, camping, cabins, archery programs, hiking, a mountain bike trail and a conference center. The friendly, helpful staff offers a variety of programs including a self-guided Junior Ranger booklet.”

Volunteers will likely get a well-rounded run of experiences while with the Friends; past projects included support for Twin Lakes State Park staff seeking grants, including a grant from the Farmville Ruritan Club to provide a kayak launch platform and a grant from Walmart to provide life jackets, paddles and archery equipment.

Not all their work has gone toward humans, either. “We provided funds to purchase the large tank for the new habitat for Ranger Myrtle, the painted slider turtle,” Jones said. “Our most recent project was to provide kits to assemble bluebird boxes. We held an event at the park to assist children in assembling them.”

Additional kits are still available in the gift shop at the park office for a suggested $10 donation. Assembling only requires a hammer.

If you cannot volunteer but would like to help, Friends accepts small donations in its donation box at the park office. Larger donations or grants can be mailed to the group at the park address.

“We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We would be glad to accept donations for specific projects such as improvements to the reptile habitats in the nature center, improvements to the campground, or sponsorship of park events,” Jones said.

Annual membership dues are $5 for students, $10 for individuals, $15 for families and $25 for organizations.

For more information, visit the park office at 788 Twin Lakes Road in Green Bay, call (434) 392-3435m, email the group at twinlakesparkfriends@gmail.com or find the group on Facebook at facebook. com/FTLSP.