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Volunteer Spotlight: The Kulinses

Sara Kulins, 19, center, a volunteer and student

Sara Kulins, 19, center, a volunteer and student member of the sanctuary board, got her family involved, too. From left, father Charlie, brothers Marc, 16, and John, 14, and mother Kathy. (July 19, 2013) Credit: Newsday / Jeffrey Basinger

The family’s connection to the Garden City Bird Sanctuary began when daughter Sara took on a research project at Mepham High School involving the sanctuary’s wet meadows. When she went on to college at Adelphi University in Garden City, where she is a junior, she wanted to continue her involvement at the place she had come to love, and on national Make A Difference Day in October 2010, she encouraged her friends and family to join her. “I had a bunch of people come out and do weeding,” Kulins said.

Her father, Charlie, mom, Kathy, and brothers Marc and John also pitched in. Like so many others visiting for the first time, they had no idea what the sanctuary was all about.

“When they tell you it’s a ‘dual purpose storm basin,’ you say, ‘okayyyy,’ ” said Charlie Kulins, 49. “But once you walk in there, you’re amazed at what they’ve done.”

The Kulinses, who live in North Bellmore, are now among the  at the sanctuary. Marc, 16, is completing his Eagle Scout project there, which involves repairs of damaged along the walking trail. He is also helping with a tree identification program at the sanctuary, the beneficiary of more than 20 Eagle Scout projects since the preserve was established in 1995.

Meanwhile, his sister is a student member of the sanctuary’s volunteer board, and, as a runner, was very involved in helping sanctuary founder Rob Alvey plan the first 5k trail run there in April.

As the Scoutmaster for his son’s troop, 577 in North Bellmore, Charlie Kulins brings his Scouts periodically to help with cleanup and other projects at the sanctuary. Like many others, he said he is impressed by the volunteer energy there, much of it radiating from Alvey.

“I’m an avid garden and outdoors person myself,” Charlie Kulins said. “But I can’t fathom how Mr. Alvey comes up with the time for this.”

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