Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hurray for Volunteers!

On the occasion of National Volunteer Week, April 6 - 12, Life Sciences Staff post the following tribute:

Cleaning naked mole rat enclosures, pinning butterfly pupae, weeding in our courtyards, watering the plants in our Tropical Butterfly House, logging observations of the organisms in our care, publishing this very blog – these are just some of the many tasks our Life Sciences volunteers do on a daily basis. Volunteers work closely with staff to care for our animals and plants while striving to ensure our guests feel that special sense of wonder while visiting. This week is National Volunteer Week and we want to publicly thank and acknowledge our volunteers for their myriad contributions.

In the last year, Life Sciences Volunteers have given 2,000+ hours. But numbers cannot simply quantify our volunteers’ contributions.

When our volunteers help a guest understand what a chrysalis is or why plants need pruning, they are sharing both their knowledge and their wonder. Their firsthand accounts are compelling and unique – they aren’t just explaining a theory but sharing something they have seen and understand.

Our volunteers also contribute their many world views and experiences. Some have specialized background with botany or entomology. Others revealed amazing talents as teachers, problems solvers, and artists.

Our volunteers generously share their wisdom, humor, high standards and empathy. As enjoyable as our job is, it can be stressful. A shipment of pupae is delayed in the mail, and the extra day may cost us some of the animals. A snake we care for shows signs of aging. The plants in the butterfly house are not where the map says they should be. A hot summer takes a toll on newly transplanted trees. Our volunteers are right there with us, helping us solve problems, and feeling our daily challenges and triumphs.

We get so much more done – and our jobs are so much more fun because of them.

We are also excited since this Saturday (April 12) we will add more than a dozen new volunteers to our team. We are excited to work with these talented individuals and cannot wait to learn what tales and talents they bring to our programs.

Thank you Terry, Allison, Ashlee, Monica, Lanka, Quinn, Jennie, Brian, Sam, Jacob, Taylor, Karna, Aleksandra, Katy, Rachel, Jess, Simone, Danielle, Phoebe, Cathy and Maurice for all that you do for our animals, plants, guests and of course employees! Your contributions make a difference.

The Life Sciences department wants to add a note of thanks to our wonderful Volunteer Talent Manager Chelsea Rodriguez, who recruits, trains, and helps us coordinate our many volunteers. Without her expertise, our program would not have their valuable assistance.

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