I realize it’s been a long time since I, personally, added a post to our blog, but there is a good reason… I’ve been swamped training five new volunteers for the program! I can’t thank Anne, the Volunteer, enough for stepping in the last couple weeks but I thought I’d take this opportunity to introduce our “newbies” to you all.
I was contacted several months ago (probably at the beginning of the summer) by a couple ladies that were interested in volunteering with the raptor program here at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Unfortunately, summer is INSANELY busy for me so I had to tell them I wouldn’t be able to start new folks until after the summer, hopefully mid-September. Finally at the end of September I was ready to start, and Sue and Laurie were both still chomping at the bit to join our team!
Almost every one of our volunteers comes with no previous experience working with raptors. Sue was no exception, but she has an incredible love of animals and is truly ecstatic to be working so closely with our amazing ambassadors. She does admit, however, it is hard for her to resist touching and hugging Teasdale
Laurie recently moved to Cody, but several years ago she worked at a nature center in North Carolina called Grandfather Mountain. It’s exciting to have another “nature educator” on the team, and although she only got a little bit of experience working with screech owls, she did get to manage the habitats for animals like mountain lions, otters, and bald eagles—even if she didn’t get to work with the animals directly.
On the first day of her training, Sue said she would bring along her son, Sam. Having never met Sue I wasn’t sure what to expect in her son, and although she mentioned he had done some research in South America, I didn’t know if she would be bringing a college student or what. Fortunately, Sam is an incredibly enthusiastic and knowledgable adult who loves to learn about everything! He just moved to the area and has lots of time to spend training with the birds and is hoping to help out in the Draper Natural History Museum with the lab projects and golden eagle research as well.
The next newbie to join our ranks was Violet. Talk about dedication… She works at the Dinosaur Museum in Thermopolis, Wyoming, and is coming up on her weekends to work with the birds. That’s an hour and a half one way just to be a part of the program!
And finally, our last new volunteer is Kassy. When I was describing what we do, I mentioned that the volunteers never have to give a full program by themselves if they don’t want to, but they do need to talk to the public and be comfortable in front of a crowd. That’s when she told me she was not only a registered nurse in critical care and surgery, but that she has presented educational lectures at conferences and seminars and has done quite a bit of training. Perhaps I finally have another victim to start presenting programs??
Each and every one of our volunteers, new or experienced, is an incredibly valuable member of the team, and I can’t express how much I appreciate what they do for the birds, the program, and me. I am truly lucky to have them!
And let’s not forget the birds! What amazing birds we have! Each of them, honestly, is the best representative of their species that I have worked with—and I’ve worked with around 70 raptors over the years! I’d like to say a super big thank you to Teasdale. You probably noticed he is really the one training all the new folks, and he does a great job at it! Way to go, Teas!