Meet Holly Hardy
At the Jupiter Outdoor Center, we call Holly Hardy – politely – Mighty Mouse.
That’s because the slight mother of three has no problem keeping up with the other JOC employees hauling those kayaks and lifting those stand up paddle boards.
And like the other JOC tour guides, Hardy brings a passion for sharing the history, beauty and preservation of the waterways around the Jupiter Inlet.
“When I take people out on a tour, I share with them the history of the inlet, the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, Jonathan Dickinson State Park and Dubois Park. And I want them to understand the importance of protecting our local environment,” says Holly.
Holly grew up like Tom Sawyer, living in Jupiter Farms on the banks of Loxahatchee River.
“The Loxahatchee River was my back yard. My playground. We would paddle from Riverbend Park to Trapper Nelson’s at Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Sometimes we would do it at night, when we weren’t supposed to,” she says, smiling at the childhood memory.
Thankfully, Holly says the Loxahatchee River has changed little since she was a kid. Protecting the sand hill cranes, manatees, cypress swamps, bass and other wildlife is part of her job, says the 29-year-old Stuart resident.
“I love this area. I want my children to enjoy it,” says Holly.
When not guiding tours at JOC, Holly volunteers for Believe in Me, a national organization that helps families who have lost a loved one while serving in the military.
The organization, which works with the Gold Star Legacy program, also provides Christmas gifts, Mother’s Day weekend retreats and financial assistance to military families in distress.
“My dad was in the military. So were my grandparents. It’s an honor to help these families,” says Holly.
Before coming to JOC last fall, Holly was a tour guide for 13 years at Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Along the way, she tried a couple office jobs.
“Working inside is not for me. I’m lucky to be doing a job that I love. It’s a blessing,” says Holly.