In 2001, Tracy Valentine Booth was driving by FOS when she spotted the sign asking for volunteers – and she was hooked. New to the Stuart area, she was delighted by the opportunity to learn about the special ecosystem in her new home, and equally delighted to share that learning with others. Tracy began as a volunteer with the stingray feeding and touch tank exhibits, and soon became a Nature Trail guide after taking IFAS’ Master Naturalist Course.
“I’m excited to learn who I’m talking with every trip on the Trail,” says Tracy. “It’s always a mix of Florida visitors and local residents who want to learn more. Just last week I had two biologists who’d lived in Florida all their lives and were visiting FOS for the first time – what an interesting discussion that was! This gives me a chance to work with different age groups too, which I really enjoy.”
Tracy honed her talent as a guide when she served as a docent giving historic and architectural tours in Portland, Maine. She and her husband Don raised their family in small town nearby, and the couple still spends summers there. Educated as a registered nurse and also a social worker, Tracy is a lifelong naturalist. She credits her father for her strong interest in plants and gardening. She was able to pursue her interest in marine life when the couple spent two years living aboard their trawler, navigating the ocean waters around the U.S and the Caribbean.
Tracy’s FOS volunteer role is very much aligned with her personal interest in the environment. “There is irreversible change happening in the Indian River Lagoon right now,” says Tracy. “We need to make the environment a top issue in our lives or we will continue to lose species of plants and animals forever. This ecosystem is too precious and too unique to lose.”
Tracy appreciates the culture of volunteerism at FOS, and continues to find great satisfaction whether she is guiding on the Trail or engaging young visitors with the touch tanks. She enjoys sharing her love of nature with grandson Caleb, who is a frequent visitor to FOS. We thank you Tracy, for your dedication to our mission and our guests.