Parks officials acknowledge they can't do it alone.

So they were grateful Saturday when nearly two dozen people turned out to Fire Island National Seashore's 2012 Volunteer Recruitment Day to find out how they can use their passion for Long Island history, culture and the ecology to assist park rangers.

The informational session at the Patchogue-Watch Hill Ferry Terminal outlined the national park service's efforts to recruit volunteers to staff visitor centers, conduct tours, clean beaches and pitch in on various programs at the William Floyd Estate, Fire Island Lighthouse, Watch Hill campground, Sailors Haven, and Otis Pike Wilderness. Park officials protect more than 19,000 acres of ocean-washed beaches, dunes and maritime forests on Fire Island.

"We rely on volunteers," said Kathy Krause, chief of interpretation and education, which oversees the park's volunteer program. "We can never really do it all on our own."

Volunteer coordinator Irene Rosen said recruits will undergo park orientation and training for a volunteer season that starts April 15. More than 27,000 volunteer hours were recorded last year from 175 volunteers, she said. "By the end of the summer, the volunteers are telling me what to do," Rosen joked.

Under the direction of coastal ecologist Patti Rafferty, volunteers will measure and tag horseshoe crabs along the bay shoreline of Fire Island as part of a May-June citizen science program. Horseshoe crabs have a significant ecological role and are important in the biomedical industry and commercial fishery, Rafferty said.

"We started this program to get citizens involved in science," Rafferty said.

Shane Lynch, 24, of Mastic, signed up to volunteer at the William Floyd Estate to lead tours on the 613-acre Mastic Beach property of Floyd, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The history graduate student said he wants to share the past of the house, the surrounding land and the Floyd Family's 250-year occupation.

"It's history with the kids, and it's five minutes from my house," Lynch said.

Alyson Worthington, of Blue Point, and her son Zach, 15, also signed up to volunteer. She wants to lead nature walks, and he wants to help with trail and construction maintenance.

"We love both nature and working outdoors," she said.

From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book. Credit: Newsday Staff

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From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book. Credit: Newsday Staff

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