Goodbye and Best Wishes to Ana!

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When we arrived here at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in November we met the amazing Ms. Ana Maria Castillo-Ruiz, volunteer coordinator extraordinaire.

Ana has been so much fun to work with. Not only does she always have an amazing smile, but she doesn’t hesitate to see the humor in a situation. She has a quick wit, but it’s her ability to manage that really impressed me. At our first meeting Ana learned about my previous work experience and assigned me to work with her in Admin.

What fun we’ve had! It has been a real treat to get back into file maintenance and create and update spreadsheets. I’ve done inventory projects and anything else she needed assistance with.

Ana taught me to process fees that the Refuge collects at their three entrances. We spent many hours working together 24 hours a week. We also worked hard to prepare for Everglades Day where Ana coordinated over 130 volunteer activities. As her assistant on that day, I can say that once again I marveled at her ability to assign all of those volunteers and groups to provide the right support for every possible scenario.

Yesterday was bittersweet because it was my last day to work with this beautiful young woman who recently accepted a position with the Fish and Wildlife Service in Jacksonville.

Ana, I wish you all the best in your new role and hope that you enjoy the change and embrace the opportunity for growth. I, and all of the other volunteers at Loxahatchee will miss you greatly.

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