County’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department receives two awards from state association

For fifth year in a row, county resident recognized for voluntary service

Terry Redman (center) accepts the award from Florida Recreation and Park Association President President Charlotte Presensky (left) and Past President Becky Gunter. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Sarasota County’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department (PRNR) has received two awards from the Florida Recreation and Park Association (FRPA) “in recognition of innovative programming and volunteer contributions,” county staff has announced.

The FRPA Voluntary Service Individual Award was presented to PRNR volunteer Terry Redman, who has contributed more than 25 years of volunteer services with Friends of Sarasota County Parks, the Knight Trail Park and Outdoor Shooting Complex, the Sarasota County Parks Advisory and Recreation Council, the county’s University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension and Sustainability (UF/IFAS) Florida Master Gardeners program, and other community organizations, including the Sertoma Club of Venice, a news release explains.

This is the fifth year in a row that an individual associated with Sarasota County programs earned the FRPA Voluntary Service Individual Award, “demonstrating the commitment community members have toward keeping Sarasota County’s parks and natural areas beautiful,” the release adds.

“Terry is a shining example of a passionate, dedicated volunteer who has contributed so much to our parks system,” Nicole Rissler, the PRNR director, said in the release. “We are very fortunate to have volunteers like him in our community.”

Redman has been a leader of the Friends of Sarasota County Parks (FOSCP) since its establishment in 2002; he was the organization’s president for more than 16 years and is serving as its secretary, the releases points out. Over the past 10 years, “FOSCP has provided nearly 32,000 volunteer hours supporting county park projects and thousands of dollars in park enhancements and amenities,” the release notes.

“It’s a great honor to have been selected as the FRPA Volunteer of the Year Award recipient,” said Redman in the release. “A large thank you to the dedicated Sarasota County parks staff and the other community volunteers for making this award possible.”

As for the second honor: PRNR’s Fire Fest was selected for the FRPA Innovative Programming Award in Environmental Sustainability and Resiliency, the release continues. “This award recognizes Sarasota County’s efforts to provide creative programs that expand community participation” through education and leisure activities, the release adds.

Fire Fest, which occurs annually at the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve near Venice, educates members of the community “about the use of prescribed fire as a tool to manage the county’s native habitats and reduce the risk of wildfires,” the release points out. It features a unique combination of live prescribed fire demonstrations, educational hay wagon rides through the reserve, nature walks, exhibitors and a children’s game zone.

“Fire Fest is one of our signature events that is much loved by our community and always a lot of fun,” Rissler pointed out in the release. “Multiple departments and agencies collaborate to make it a special experience for residents of all ages and backgrounds to come and learn about prescribed fire and its importance for healthy ecosystems,” she added.

The Florida Recreation and Park Association annually awards park and recreation agencies, employees, volunteers, and partners making positive impacts on their communities, the release explains. “Nominations are reviewed by a volunteer committee and then peer-rated based on supporting details. More information on the FRPA awards program may be found at

For more information or to register as a PRNR volunteer, call the Sarasota County Contact Center by dialing 311 or visit