- January 6, 2022
Princess Place Preserve got a mini facelift recently, when local teens paired up with international exchange students for a half day of park spruce-up.
Flagler County Parks and Recreation Supervisor Frank Barbuti supervised the activities and educated the volunteers on the importance and significance of volunteering. The Center for Cultural Interchange Local Coordinator Dorothy Kelly, who places and supervises the exchange students, contacted Barbuti to propose working together on the project and coordinated the details and volunteer recruitment with the help of Flagler volunteers.
“The Greenheart initiative of CCI encourages our exchange students to volunteer and learn to develop social and environmental consciousness,” Kelly said. “We wanted to get this message and the volunteer opportunities out to our local teens as well. Pair them up. It’s cool to get the kids together, especially if it’s for a good cause. It’s interesting for them to be around people from a different country.”
One exchange student involved was Emma Bouveret, of France. She said that it was an interesting experience meeting and volunteering alongside the American teens.
“Princess Place was beautiful, especially arriving in the morning with the deer and birds,” said Alex Teisan, Bouveret’s host sister. “It was time well spent volunteering to improve the park. The camaraderie was excellent, especially getting to meet other kids and exchange students.”
Teens pulled overgrown weeds, collected and piled historically significant bricks from old buildings for future use, loaded fallen oak logs and limbs into tractors to be hauled away, and washed the never ending salt off of the tall, beautiful, original windows of the waterfront lodge.
“We had a big oak tree go down in a storm, and, with the Legacy students off for the summer, the garden project had gotten overgrown,” Barbuti said. “These kids really pitched in and helped with the cleanup. We had a good time and are looking forward to the next project.”
A waterfront cookout, sponsored by Palm Coast Ford, followed the clean up to give the hungry teens a chance to eat, relax and get to know one another better.
When asked to describe some of the differences and similarities between their culture and ours, exchange students Thibault Durand and Bouveret agreed that Americans seem to be more easy going.
Kelly said she is looking forward to many more volunteer opportunities with the exchange students.
To volunteer for future Greenheart projects, call 585-4676 or email [email protected].