Barbara Ornstein, Robert Tarnuzzer named 2014 volunteers of the year

April 11th, 2014
The 2014 James Pope Cheney Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Barbara Ornstein for her contributions to exhibits and public programs and to Robert Tarnuzzer for his work in vertebrate paleontology collections. Florida Museum photos by Kristen Grace

The Florida Museum named Barbara Ornstein and Robert Tarnuzzer its 2014 volunteers of the year.
Florida Museum of Natural History photos by Kristen Grace

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Hard work has paid off for Barbara Ornstein and Robert Tarnuzzer, who were recognized last week by the Florida Museum of Natural History as winners of the 2014 James Pope Cheney Volunteer of the Year Award.

Ornstein served 199 hours at the museum during 2013 and has completed more than 1,600 hours since she began volunteering in 2000. In addition to her role as a school programs docent, she also participates in outreach programs and exhibit fabrication.

“The keyword that I think best describes Barbara’s volunteer work here at the museum is ‘versatility,’ ” said Center for Science Learning project manager Dale Johnson.

Tarnuzzer served more than 443 hours in the museum’s vertebrate paleontology collections during 2013 and has completed more than 2,800 hours since becoming a volunteer in 2007. He collects fossils in the field and has helped rearrange most of the vertebrate paleontology collections in the last few years due to new acquisitions and cabinets.

“Robert’s contributions to both curatorial tasks and fieldwork are exemplary,” said vertebrate paleontology collections manager Richard Hulbert. “We have come to depend on him for many tasks requiring flexibility, problem solving and skills that demand constant development.”

The two were recognized during the museum’s annual volunteer reception April 1.

The James Pope Cheney Volunteer of the Year Award is presented annually to distinguished Florida Museum volunteers who show outstanding interest in museum collections, effort toward the educational advancement of children and enthusiastic support for the museum and volunteer communities. It honors Cheney, who was a Florida Museum docent for 14 years before his death in 2004.

For more information on museum volunteer opportunities, email Florida Museum volunteer coordinator Amy Hester, or visit


Writer: Katina Prokos,
Source: Amy Hester,
Media Contact: Paul Ramey,, 352-273-2054