Florida Museum of Natural History recognizes volunteers


Published: Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 6:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 6:10 p.m.

Florida Museum of Natural History volunteers Barbara Ornstein and Robert Tarnuzzer are winners of the 2014 James Pope Cheney Volunteer of the Year Award.

Ornstein served 199 hours at the museum during 2013 and has completed more than 1,600 hours since 2000, when she began volunteering. In addition to her role as a school programs docent, she also participates in outreach programs and exhibit fabrication.

Tarnuzzer served more than 443 hours in the museum’s vertebrate paleontology collections during 2013 and has completed more than 2,800 hours since becoming a volunteer in 2007. He collects fossils in the field and has helped re arrange most of the vertebrate paleontology collections in the last few years due to new acquisitions and cabinets.

The James Pope Cheney Volunteer of the Year Award is presented annually to distinguished Florida Museum volunteers who show outstanding interest in museum collections, effort toward the educational advancement of children and enthusiastic support for the museum and volunteer communities. It honors Cheney, who was a Florida Museum docent for 14 years before his death in 2004.

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Taylor Jochumsen, who graduated at the top of his class and gave the graduation speech, received a certificate from the the Florida Fire College in Ocala. He completed 16 weeks of intensive training that included climbing to the top of a three-story building, rescuing a “dummy” carrying it down a ladder with flames all around him, and strapping to his back his air supply and 60 pounds of gear.

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Oak Hall students Brittany Olinger and Jake Kirschner are among 24 students named to the Florida High School Athletic Association 2014 Academic All-State Team for Academic and Scholastic Achievement, Community Service

Brittany, the daughter of William David and Leigh Ann Olinger, holds a 4.0 grade point average and was inducted into Oak Hall’s Cum Laude Society and named an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction. Brittany earned four varsity letters in cross country and track and field. She was active in her high school with Mu Alpha Theta and student government, and by being a youth in government lawyer. A large part of her high school career was devoted to community service by participating in Mission Jamaica and founding ReRun Sneakers Inc. To date, her nonprofit has shipped more than 700 pairs of running shoes to young athletes in need. Brittany plans to study economics and management at the University of Oxford in Oxford, England.

Jake, who is the son of Rick and Wendy Kirschner, has maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout high school and is a member of the Cum Laude Society. Jake earned four varsity letters each in football and lacrosse, as well as two in soccer and swimming. In addition to his athletics, he was president of National Honor Society and part of Thespian Society, Chinese Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes for all four years of high school. With 1,175 hours of community service, he has volunteered for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Boy Scouts of America and FHSAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and was an intern for the Sports Performance Center at UF Orthopedics. He plans to attend either the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, or Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and has an interest in studying civil engineering.

The Florida High School Athletic Association is the governing body for interscholastic athletic competition in Florida.

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recognized wildlife scientist Joan Berish with the 2013 Louise Ireland Humphrey Achievement Award, which honors Humphrey, a Leon County resident, owner of Woodfield Springs Plantation, and the first woman appointed to serve on the board of the then-Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission in 1984, and served until 1999.

Berish, who has worked for the FWC more than 33 years and lives in Gainesville, has been at the forefront of work involving conserving and managing gopher tortoises, a listed species in Florida. She has authored or co-authored 33 publications on gopher tortoises and has written a chapter on tortoise biology and management for a book on North American tortoises, which is scheduled for publication (Johns Hopkins University Press) this summer.

Since its inception, Berish has spearheaded and served on the Gopher Tortoise Council, a management team that involves both wildlife scientists and laypeople.

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