Volunteer of the Month – February 2024

Feb 16, 2024 | Volunteers

Feb 2024 Volunteer of the Month - Gigi Yarusso

Gigi Yarusso

Approximately eleven years ago, Gigi met a woman from Switzerland, Maija Gadient. Both shared the love of wildlife, especially the Florida manatee and the monarch butterfly. Six years ago, Gigi involved herself in raising money for a Manateeum (museum dedicated to the Florida manatee) with Maija and others to be built at Sirenia Vista Park. A black-tie gala was held at the Cape Coral Yacht Club, raising approximately $15,000.

As the years passed, Gigi’s love of the monarch butterfly grew, and she competed with a friend to see who could raise the most butterflies each winter season—she always won! Several years ago, Gigi, with the help of her good friend Maija, convinced the city to create a butterfly garden at Sirenia Vista Park in the shape of a manatee. This garden boasts various native plants and, of course, milkweed for her cherished monarchs. She has faithfully watered and manicured this garden weekly since.

Gigi faithfully shows up at the purple martin observations every Wednesday, where she and other volunteers would count eggs, and later hatchlings, and later fledglings. She also participated in planting several trees at the park. At one point, our small Sirenia Vista Park volunteer group joined forces with CCFW, and she jumped in with both feet. She attended several Cape Coral city council meetings representing the club. At our monthly general membership meetings, volunteers were greeted by the fantastic smells of her signature dish, quiche. As the hospitality guru, Gigi elegantly dressed the table, and on it were a variety of fruits, other meats, and, of course, her quiche. Thank you, Gigi, for your countless volunteer hours over the many years. Our local wildlife also thank you!