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Refuge welcomes resident volunteers

By Staff | Jul 17, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Darrell and Dawn Young

The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge participates in a Resident Volunteer Program, in which it swaps RV parking space and utilities for volunteer services to help fill in staffing gaps due to federal budget cuts.

Darrell and Dawn Young recently arrived and will stay on until Sept. 15.

Dawn Young was born and raised in Michigan, while Darrell Young grew up in California.

“As for what we consider our hometown, we receive our mail in South Dakota, but we have been full-time RVers for the past three years,” she said. “So our home is where we park it. Our children were raised mostly in Sacramento.”

In their previous lives, they both served in the U.S. Air Force. Dawn Young completed 20 years doing public affairs and Darrell Young went on to serve 30 years as a pilot.

Other refuges where they have worked as resident volunteers include Laguna Atascosa in Texas and Malheur in Oregon. She now assists in the Sanibel refuge’s Visitor & Education Center, while he tackles outside maintenance work.