Thursday, August 29, 2013

Volunteer Shout-Out: Educating Current & Future Generations

Credit Don McCullough

by Kara Kaczmarzyk

As the fall season of education programming starts in full swing, from the Institute of Grasslands Ecology to workshops and youth programs, a couple of volunteers who have been instrumental in the last year of education activities for Tucson Audubon deserve a special shout-out. These star volunteers are Sally Reeves and Greer Warren.

Sally Reeves joined the Tucson Audubon volunteer team about one and a half years ago. Sally got started in our downtown Nature Shop and you can find her there every Monday afternoon. She is a former military officer and continues to support veterans. Sally has flexibly worked with a number of our education programs, like River Pathways and outreach tables at the Science City and other community events. Furthermore, she spreads the word about our Living With Nature lectures by helping to create each month's flyer and distribute to the library, and even helped to manage registrations for workshops in our old registration system. Lastly, she has also helped set up the education classes in the role of Education Proctor. Sally's real passion is in advocacy. For years, she led tobacco prevention seminars and outreach to students and other groups for the American Lung Association and through other health departments and also helped families of children with disabilities to advocate for services. As Tucson Audubon looks to involve volunteers further in our advocacy work, we hope Sally will lend her dedication and passion to this too!

I enjoy learning about my community and volunteering with the Tucson Audubon Society has given me plenty of opportunity to expand my horizons. I've certainly learned more about birds, but I've also learned a lot about the desert environment and how I can reduce my impact on nature.  The best part of volunteering with the Tucson Audubon Society are the wonderful people I've met.  I've learned a lot about Tucson and the surrounding area from the friendly staff members, other volunteers and of course the people in the community that attend Audubon events. 

Sally (left) with Alice Cave at a restoration workday at Atturbury Wash. Credit Rick Fletcher

Greer Warren has a long history with Tucson Audubon Society and was formerly a member of our Board of Directors. She was also instrumental in reinvigorating our spring birdwatching and fundraising program, Birdathon, back in the 1990s. The changes she and the other committee members made to Birdathon were so significant that representatives from National Audubon came to learn our secrets! In the last year, Greer has stepped up her involvement as a volunteer, to the delight of all of us here at Tucson Audubon. If you attended the Tucson Bird & Wildlife Festival during any of its days, chances are you may have spotted Greer, whose enthusiasm amazingly didn't seem dwindle through each of the four days of the event that she was onsite volunteering in the registration room, Nature Expo, setup, and wherever needed. She has been working with Bete Jones on some of the behind-the-scenes planning for the totally new Institute of Grasslands Ecology. Building off the 40 year history of Tucson Audubon's Institute of Desert Ecology, the IGE begins a new four year track of institutes focusing on different environments within Southeast Arizona.

As to why Greer is supporting the Institute of Grasslands Ecology as a volunteer, she says:

After wanting to do the Institute of Desert Ecology in Catalina State Park for 20 years (WHAT was I waiting for?), I finally attended in 2012.  In spite of record heat that weekend, I had a fine time and I really took to this format of adult education.  I spoke with the IDE volunteers, several of whom I had known for some time, and decided that I was more than willing to do slave labor, get up before the crack of dawn, ring meal bells, or whatever had to be done.  I just wanted to be a part of it.  I was active as a volunteer with TAS in the late '80s and early '90s (Board of Directors, Birdathon, CBC, field trips) and I am getting my ducks in a row as I ramp up for retirement from my day job.  I am very glad to be back with Tucson Audubon Society.

Thanks so much to Greer and Sally for all you continue to do to teach people to conserve and protect our natural resources and help them to enjoy birds. Take it from these ladies, volunteering in education activities for Tucson Audubon is the way to go! 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Things We Found While Cleaning the Mason Center Basement

--Kendall Kroesen

The Tucson Audubon Mason Center basement organization project will be ongoing, so stand by for more interesting finds. But here's a first taste:

Plastic pith helmet

Toilet seat for a remote pit toilet

Binoculars case once owned by Bob and Peggy Wenrick (thanks for your donation!)

Rejected for lack of compliance with Tucson Audubon's current branding and logo guidelines

Large, useful clip for which I could find no immediate use

A whole bunch of bird boxes that will come in handy this fall as we start our campaign to find out what kind of bird boxes work best in Tucson!

The October-December 2013 Vermilion Flycatcher magazine will be about threats to birds. This is what happens if you don't pay attention to threats to birds!

Erin showing off a box of instruction manuals for equipment we no longer have.

Jean with membership and financial records for the last five years--we have to keep these!

Ancient records from defunct habitat restoration projects. It's like King Tut's tomb down there.

We made progress on the dark and mysterious east end of the basement. At least you can walk through there now.

Basement detritus. Let us know if you see anything you need.

More detritus. TV? Office chair?