April Volunteer Shout-Out

by Kara Kaczmarzyk

This National Volunteer Week, we give a shout-out to all Tucson Audubon volunteers and introduce you to two of them below.

The energy and enthusiasm that Abraham Moreno and Niki Szivek bring to volunteering with Tucson Audubon is inspiring. Niki and Abraham contacted me about volunteering at Tucson Audubon about a year ago. They had noticed volunteer postings in the Nature Shop on days when they visited the Historic Y to pick up produce from the CSA. These two “compadres” started volunteering at the Tucson Audubon Mason Center and have brought genuine gusto to many of our activities. Because the environment matters deeply to them, they are moved to give back and support conservation efforts in the area.

Niki (left) with volunteers sorting mesquite pods at the Harvest Festival (Abraham in far back)
It seems like Niki and Abraham enjoy everything outdoors! From hiking and biking to jogging and gardening, the two seem to be most at peace outside. They are both vegans, and have some recipe favorites from the book Born to Run. Abraham’s passion for local foods may trace to his grandmother, who would whip up tasty plates from the foods growing natively in her yard.  I have found that both are always eager to learn more and, reciprocally, to share new things they have learned.

Through experiences in the last year (like volunteering with Tucson Audubon!), Niki has found her passion in working outdoors, creating things with her two hands. As I write this, Abraham is probably studying frantically for spring finals at the U of A. In the little free time they both have, Abraham and Niki also volunteer with No More Deaths and for bike and marathon events.

Abraham sorts mesquite pods for customer at Harvest Festival

Last November, Niki and Abraham were the two steadfast volunteers who sorted and milled mesquite pods all day during the Mesquite Milling and Harvest Festival. They first got trained on the milling process through a training provided by Desert Harvesters in Phoenix. Both joined the Harvest Festival Planning Committee to help plan and present an even better Harvest Festival next November. In addition, they dig rainwater basins and plant native trees at Atturbury Wash and introduce new people to Tucson Audubon at offsite events such as the Summit Hut outdoor expo. Come to Birds and Beer on a third Thursday and you may get a chance to meet this stellar duo!

Image Credits (top to bottom): Doris Evans, Kendall Kroesen, Brad Steinagel