Thursday, June 27, 2013

June Volunteer Shout-Out

Credit Doris Evans

by Kara Kaczmarzyk

Craig Marken and Wanda Wynne are two of Tucson Audubon’s strongest supporters. In between travels, this worldly couple sticks around Tucson in time to volunteer for so many Tucson Audubon programs.

Both Craig and Wanda volunteer in restoration workdays, IBA surveys (their regular route is Esperanza Ranch), and off-site tabling events. For the Institute of Desert Ecology, they delve into the basement of the Mason Center to get everything ready for this unforgettable multi-day experience. Craig was a member of the Tucson Audubon Board of Trustees, and they are long-time Friend members of the organization. As Kendall points out, it’s hard to think of anybody who has been involved longer or done more types of volunteering than they have, they've done just about everything. Craig was the Tucson Audubon Volunteer of the Year for 2010, quite the deserving title for one half of this dynamic duo!

Wanda (left) and Craig (middle right) at the Tucson Audubon gala
For the third year running, Craig and Wanda are confirmed to do what might be the least enviable volunteer role at the Tucson Bird & Wildlife Festival, that of Van Captain (it requires them to arrive at the Riverpark Inn at 4am each morning!). Thanks to Craig and Wanda, each morning's field trips will depart smoothly, with every attendee in the right’s quite a feat. 

This unflappable duo seems to be able to take on anything with a smile. Craig and Wanda always put in a good word for Tucson Audubon in their activities, exemplifying that Tucson Audubon volunteers are truly ambassadors for our mission in any situation.

The moment I mentioned to some coworkers near me that Craig and Wanda were to be this month's shout-out volunteers, the accolades started to pour in! "They are so fun!” I really get a kick out of them!” “They always have interesting such stories.” “They’re the perfect pair.” Anyone at Tucson Audubon would say the same or more for these two who have contributed so much to our organization and to our community.

Craig shows off a saguaro-shaped cookie at the Tucson Bird & Wildlife Festival
Craig is a former oil worker who has traveled the world and spent much time in Norway and Scotland. Wanda is a former teacher who has also traveled the world extensively. The stories they have from life in Norway, Germany, and all over are always fascinating to hear. Complementing a piece of Wanda’s outfit may be a segue into one of her tales of adventure, the undertones of which always highlight the humanity that unites us all. They spend much time outdoors, biking, hiking, and working in their yard. Like many of our members, you can on occasion see the couple at a Tucson Symphony Orchestra presentation. They are also members of a nature book club founded by our Habitats Program Manager, Kendall Kroesen, and another avid reader, that started over a decade ago. Lately, Craig has taken charge of the club, keeping on top of the best natural history and conservation reads.

Chances are you may know this spirited couple already or at least have seen them around. Craig and Wanda are regular faces at the Living With Nature lectures in addition to so many Tucson Audubon events. Thank you both for all you do!

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