Photo courtesy of: National Audubon Society, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Mar 12, 2012
Phil Nye, a 1954 graduate of OHIO’s College of Business, was recently recognized as "Volunteer of the Year" by Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Fla.
Known to fellow volunteers and Corkscrew staff as "the birding guy," Nye has recorded more than 6,000 hours at the sanctuary during his past 15 years of service. An avid bird enthusiast, Nye organizes and leads birding walks for visitors, participates in monthly bird censuses to gather research data and contributes to the Audubon’s Annual Christmas Bird Counts.
But Nye is not only a birder, he is also a naturalist who can be found trimming back plants like poison ivy that encroach on sanctuary walkways and helping to rid the area of exotic, non-native plants such as the Brazilian Pepper.
“I would like to invite anyone visiting or living in Naples to see how a south Florida swamp looked 700 years ago,” Nye said. “I'd be happy to give fellow OHIO alumni a personal tour of my favorite place."
Fellow naturalist, Leslie Burgess, described Nye’s positive impact on the sanctuary and its visitors.
"Phil is gregarious in the best way," she said. "He can make a positive connection with anyone and then follow up with an incredible store of knowledge – not just about birds, but other critters, plants, history … you name it."
Founded in 1954, the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is 14,000 acres and features a boardwalk that is more than two miles long. It houses the largest remaining Bald Cypress forest in North America and is open to the public year-round.