“Nature Calls:

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. 

Volunteer Liaison, Cindy, speaks with an Open House guest.

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. 

Debbie snapping snapshots.

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.

Debbie in a candid moment.

Debbie and Volunteer Open House Greeter, Lucho.

Mussel Beach....Zebra Mussels that is, in this display about the invasive species.

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.


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