April 23 , 2009

Orlando City Mayor Presents Prestigious Jefferson Award For Public Service to Sheila Bolin, CEO, The Regal Swan® Foundation, Inc.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA-April 23, 2009- In recognition of “Outstanding Leadership in volunteerism,” Orlando City Mayor Buddy Dyer presented the prestigious Jefferson Award for Public Service to Sheila Bolin who accepted the award on behalf of The Regal Swan® Foundation, Inc.  Bolin, CEO for the non-profit swan-research group, based in Orlando, waspresented with the award during the Mayor’s 9th Annual Volunteer Appreciation Reception.

Bolin and The Regal Swan® were recognized for outstanding community service for volunteer work conducted at downtown Orlando’s signature Lake Eola. “Working Together To Make A Difference,” the city of Orlando’s Volunteer Program is part of the Jefferson Awards’ mission to encourage and honor public and community service.

Founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard, the awards were created as a Nobel Prize for public service. Named after U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, the board felt that Jefferson best reflected the spirit of excellence in America. Today, the Jefferson Awards’ primary purpose is to serve as a “Call to Action For Volunteers” in local communities. A virtual Who’s Who serves on the Board of Selectors. The award accepted byBolin includes the signatures of the following Selectors: U.S. Senator Harry Reid, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Actor Michael Douglas, Sam Beard, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Actress Whoopi Goldberg and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

Nominated by Leonardo Falcon, park manager for Lake Eola, Bolin and the Foundation’s team contributed more than 700 man-hours last year to the construction of new veterinary medical pens, veterinary medical care and supplemental feeding for the lake’s swan flock.  In 2007, Falcon founded the Swan and Wildlife Appreciation Program (SWAP) at Lake Eola, with the intent of establishing an educational walking docent program for guests to Lake Eola.

In addition to the humane veterinary medical care provided to the swans by the Foundation, The Regal Swan® team, in collaboration with Angi Perretti’s “Walking Works of Art”, Falcon and the SWAP docents established a “Swans of The World” habitat at Lake Eola on October18, 2008.

Swans from around the world, representing every species and sub-species can be observed by  Lake Eola visitors. This massive environmental/educational initiative showcases Orlando as one of only a select number of sites in the world housing all of the swan species.

The importance of this endeavor is to create public awareness of the environmental crisis now facing swans worldwide. Due to environmental and man-made causes, their habitats and wetland areas are being lost at an alarming rate. 

The Regal Swan® Foundation Inc. is based in Orlando, Florida and is committed to the humane treatment and veterinary medical care of captive swans worldwide. In addition to this award, the program is also a recipient of the prestigious U.S. Daily Points of Light Award and the Florida Governor’s Points of Light Award for its volunteer efforts relating to the welfare of swans worldwide. For more information, please visit our website: www.theregalswan.com

Photo is courtesy:  Angelo Roman/City of Orlando

 

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Photos by: Shirley A. Bolin and Rebecca Webb Wilson