Nearly 50 Home Depot Volunteers Tackle Multiple Projects at
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center
(Boca Raton, Florida) The Butterfly Garden at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center was filled with more orange than can be seen on the milkweed and firebush blossoms that attract the beautiful insects there. Dozens of Home Depot trademarked orange t-shirts arrived at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center today, their wearers wielding paintbrushes, shovels, wheelbarrows, and hammers. With a $2,700 grant from The Home Depot Foundation, The Team Depot Captain Michael Delbianco led nearly 50 volunteers as they completed projects to improve visitor experiences in separate areas of the Center.
Volunteers replaced the well-worn pathways with timber-trimmed, mulched walkways and added potted plants next to the park benches in the much-loved Butterfly Garden. With help from Gumbo Limbo Volunteer Elisabeth Hoffman, the team also added beautiful native plants around the site. “Not only do native plants enhance our butterfly population, but they also give our visitors an important glimpse of a natural Florida garden environment,” instructed Hoffman, as she carefully chose the plant species. “Team Depot has made the garden so beautiful while carefully helping us keep its natural look.”
To upgrade the amphitheater, Team Depot replaced the seating areas with composite, non-wood surfaces to create a more moisture resistant, comfortable area. They formed a backdrop for the stage with silver buttonwood plants, donated by The Home Depot supplier Riverview. The plants will grow tall enough to produce more of a stage-like atmosphere and camouflage the walkway and area behind the stage. “The wood timbers we had held moisture and had deteriorated over the years,” noted Center Manager Stefanie Ouellette. “The new, non-wood surfaces will greatly improve our ability to use this amphitheater for lectures and other gatherings to support science education in our community.”
A separate team applied a new coat of dirt-resistant, washable paint to the exterior of the 8-foot deep saltwater tanks, using many gallons donated to the project by Glidden. “When the public gets an up-close view of the sea life in the tanks, the smudges and markings naturally left behind will be less of an issue,” said a pleased Ouelette. “This new paint will reduce the maintenance and associated costs and improve the appearance of these tanks for years to come, making the site more family-friendly.”
Friends of Gumbo Limbo Board Member Steve Alley, who worked with Team Depot on various projects around the site, was impressed with the improvements. “We’re especially appreciative that the local Team Depot organization chose Gumbo Limbo for their service project this month. As a member of a very hands-on Board, I’m happy to literally pitch-in on projects such as these.”
Team Depot is the volunteer-run service arm of Home Depot. Local Home Depot stores select the projects and apply for funding from The Home Depot Foundation. For the effort at Gumbo Limbo, store employees from South Palm Beach County and North Broward County participated. “Our employees adjust their schedules to be sure to have the day off just to help out for these service projects,” commented Delbianco. “Doing good works for so many organizations in our community really builds a sense of camaraderie that lasts long after the last shovel is packed back into our cars.” The Home Depot Foundation supports the employees’ work with financial backing. The Foundation recognizes that committed and motivated neighbors accomplish an enormous amount of important work in communities across the South Florida and the country. Team Depot also acquired donations from Coca-Cola for the drinks for the crew on the hot, airless morning. Friends of Gumbo Limbo provided morning snacks, coffee, and a pizza lunch from Boca’s Best Pizza Bar, which supported the event with discounted pies, plates, and napkins.
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, operated by the City of Boca Raton with funding by the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Parks District and Friends of Gumbo Limbo, is open 7 days a week, 361 days a year to provide educational opportunities for the general public and various school groups and organizations. The Center also holds a permit to administer rehabilitation care and treatment to injured sea turtles and monitors sea turtle nests along the Atlantic Ocean.
Friends of Gumbo Limbo is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Gumbo Limbo Nature Center and shares its Mission of coastal marine education, conservation, and research. Generous Members and Donors have enabled Friends of Gumbo Limbo to provide financial and advisory support to the Center since 1982.