Friday, January 11, 2013

January's Volunteer Shout-Out

Our first monthly volunteer shout-out of 2013!

by Kara Kaczmarzyk

The fifth annual Tucson Audubon Society gala, A River of Birds, will be held on the evening of Wednesday, January 30th. This special night will include live music, a silent auction, raptor free-flight, talk by professor David Wilcove, and presentation of the David Yetman Award for Promoting Conservation in Southern Arizona and the President's Award, in addition to delicious food, lovely decorations, and wonderful company. The success of this evening is largely due to the contributions of volunteers, who lend their expertise in planning, decorations, silent auction procurement, and so much more. Here we meet a few of the ladies behind the gala. On the gala night, approximately 20 stellar volunteers will be onsite to ensure the night runs perfectly.

Bonnie Wong joined our volunteer team in 2012 as an enthusiastic, inquisitive, funny, and motivated non-birder. She was attracted to Tucson Audubon’s conservation work, and wanted to help in any area. From snapping photos as an Amateur Event Photographer to help writing press releases to reviewing and updating parts of our website, proofreading, data entry, Tucson Bird & Wildlife Festival, Bonnie takes on new projects with gusto. Look for a book review by Bonnie in an upcoming blog post. She finishes projects so quickly that I sometimes have trouble responding quickly enough! Her role as silent auction procurement coordinator has kept Bonnie busy since the fall. Thanks to her tenacity and fresh ideas, our 2013 silent auction includes many new, unique and exciting items. When not finishing a Tucson Audubon volunteer project at super speed, she loves being outside, hiking, and rock climbing. Bonnie also volunteers for the Nature Conservancy. Bonnie relocated from Texas and is interested in environmental law and in being doused with colored cornstarch in the upcoming Color Me Rad 5K run.

Pat Carlson is no stranger to Tucson Audubon galas. In addition to attending them, a couple of years ago she chaired the silent auction committee. This year, she is putting her creativity front and center, as the silent auction staging chair. In this role, she will make the silent auction look fun, using props and decorations to bring the experience home. Pat is involved in so many areas at Tucson Audubon. She is on a donor wall committee for our Mason Center. She joins husband Richard Carlson, Tucson Audubon Board Treasurer, in various meetings and events for Tucson Audubon. A great place to be for great birders, the couple are near Agua Caliente Park and can often be seen at the Thursday Wake up with the Birds walks. Pat also likes to travel a lot and spend time with her grandchildren. This year celebrates one decade in Tucson for Pat and Dick. Pat also enjoys butterflies and is redoing her garden.

Pat (center, in blue) at the 2012 gala, Our Changing World

The woman with the vision, Sandy Elers was instrumental in getting Tucson Audubon to hold its first gala, five years ago. Each year, as the Gala chairperson, Sandy is part of so many components of the gala, from script edits to themes and decorations to music and food choices and everything in between. Sandy is the Vice President of the Tucson Audubon Board of Trustees, was the chair of the development committee, and remains quite involved in fund development. Sandy and her husband Karl enjoy traveling around the southwest in their RV. Sandy brings experience with galas, and many other things, from her time spent in Houston, TX. There, she was also heavily involved with the local Audubon chapter. Sandy was born and raised in Tucson; it is fascinating to hear her stories of youth friends, important personages of Tucson. Read more about Sandy in her board bio here.

Sandy (left) at the 2012 gala, Our Changing World

Thank you to all the gala volunteers for supporting this important fundraising, and awareness raising, evening!

Photo credits: Doris Evans, Bonnie Wong, Matt Griffiths

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