Answer and Volunteer!” That’s this year’s clever volunteer program theme at the forest preserve district where I am going into my fourth year as a Bluebird Monitor with Natural Resources Management.
Today, I added another role to my district volunteer resume: Volunteer Open House Volunteer. Redundant, you think? Perhaps. But anyway, when I submitted my 2011 season-end Bluebird Monitor report, I told our coordinator that I would be available to help staff the annual January Volunteer Open House if needed. The response was a swift and positive, “Wow. That is awesome. I’d love to have your help.” So today I had a lot of fun talking to folks who attended the morning-long open house to learn about the many available opportunities, speak with current volunteers and staff members, and listen to an hour-long presentation of eleven specialized programs to determine which might be a good match for their time and talents. I recognized the “deer in headlights” look on some faces as the same expression I wore a few years ago when attending the open house in search of a volunteer experience. It was nice to see young students among those with a bent for service in the great outdoors.
The forest preserve district staff and the volunteers all had a great time mingling with the visitors as well as each other. It was a pleasure to get to know my Bluebird Monitor coordinator, Volunteer Liaison Cindy, better. Playing “dueling cameras” with Debbie from Human Resources Volunteer Services was a lot of laughs.
And I learned some things today such as how invasive plants and species such as zebra mussels are threatening our preserve waterways. It was a great way to spend a cold, cloudy winter Saturday morning. By the time the open house came to an end, the sun appeared.
Take my advice. If nature calls, answer. You’ll be glad you did.