Selby Gardens Volunteer Recognized as 2017 Outstanding Volunteer for Florida Association of Museums

August 28, 2017

The award will be presented September 19 in Naples

Selby Gardens volunteer Kay Hale.

A tour guide and research library volunteer at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens will be awarded the statewide “Outstanding Volunteer” award by the Florida Association of Museums next month in Naples.

Kay Hale was nominated for the award by the botanical garden’s staff in celebration of her 15 years of volunteer service at Selby Gardens. Hale, 86, has logged nearly 4,200 hours of volunteer work during that time. She serves as a year-round tour guide, introducing visitors to the thousands of unique plants living at Selby Gardens, as well as offering her expertise as a retired librarian to the Gardens’ research library.

“Kay is a natural educator and loves to share information with fellow volunteers and guests alike. She motivates everyone she encounters to experience the drama of nature and sends them off with a new appreciation and understanding of the natural world,” said Jeannie Perales, director of education and visitor services at Selby Gardens. “We always knew that she was outstanding, but it’s nice to know that the Florida Association of Museums agrees.”  

Selby Gardens depends on the service of nearly 800 volunteers who last year helped with gardening, giving tours and much more. Their service equated to the workload of more than 32 additional full-time staff members and is valued at nearly $1.5 million.

The Annual Museum Service Awards Program sponsored by the Florida Association of Museums recognizes outstanding contributions to the museum profession in the State of Florida. In addition to Hale’s award, other categories to be recognized include Outstanding New Professional, Museum Excellence, Philanthropist Award, Outstanding Public Official, Exceptional Leadership Award and Outstanding Trustee.

Since opening to the public in 1975, Selby Gardens has been internationally recognized for its focus as the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display of epiphytes. Selby Gardens is a living museum and its staff regularly travels throughout the American Tropics to conduct field research on plant diversity and distributions, which is key to conserving habitats and species in nature. More than 200,000 guests visit Selby Gardens annually.

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About Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns and other tropical plants with a focus on botany, horticulture and environmental education. For more information, please visit Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Christmas. Regular admission is $20 and $10 children ages 4-17; members and children 3 and under enter free. Contact us at (941) 366-5731 or Get social with us on Facebook, Instagram and more by searching @selbygardens.


Tags: docent, florida association of museums, librarian, living museum, selby gardens, support, volunteer, volunteerism