Created: 4/11/2014 Updated: 5/27/2015Subscribe to the Nature Museum blog and never miss a post!
On your last visit to the Nature Museum, did you notice anyone in a green apron? I bet you saw several of these folks, actually. Maybe they brought out a live snake for you to pet, or maybe you glimpsed them through the glass pinning chrysalides outside the Butterfly Haven. Those are volunteers, and to tell you the truth, this place wouldn’t keep running without them.
Well over 300 people contribute about 13,000 volunteer hours to the Nature Museum every year –all because they love this institution and they want to help further our mission. We try to find small ways to thank them throughout the year, but every April we pull out all the stops and throw a recognition dinner to express our deep appreciation for all they do for us.
We give service pins to those who have stuck with us through the years. Several volunteers are celebrating their 15th anniversary with us this year. That means they’ve been volunteering since before we even opened our doors to the public back in 1999!
But it’s not just about numbers. We also honor those who go above and beyond their volunteer duties and provide truly exceptional service to the Nature Museum and our visitors, animals, and collections. This set of awards was inspired by creatures that live here at the museum.
For example, the monarch butterfly is perhaps the most recognized butterfly in the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, not to mention the Midwest region. This striking butterfly is renowned not only for its beauty but also for its determination and tenacity as it travels over a thousand miles to find its wintering grounds in Mexico. This iconic butterfly is the perfect symbol for our Volunteer of the Year.
The box turtle will entertain and educate the largest crowds of visitors whilst reassuring the most nervous amongst them that nature does not have to be big and scary. The volunteer selected for this award finds a special individual way to reach out to all our visitors, making them feel welcome.
So without further ado, please join me in congratulating the recipients of this year’s excellence awards and service milestones.
The Rainbow Darter Award for enthusiasm: Tom Mattingly
The Corn Snake Award for dedication: Jim Nitti
The Button Quail Award for behind-the-scenes work: Alan Barney
The Metamorphosis Award for growth: Lenny Cicero
The Fox Snake Award for visitor service: Julianna Cristanti
The Box Turtle Award for visitor education: Jon Meisenbach
The Tiger Salamander Award for mission focus: Luis Melendez
The Green Tree Frog Award for eco friendliness: Valerie Sands
The Leaf Cutter Ant Award for teamwork: Dee Kenney and Doris Devine
The Monarch Award for Volunteer of the Year: Nicole Johnson
Celebrating 15 years of service:
10 years of service:
5 years of service:
Celebrating 3,000 hours of service:
2,000 hours of service:
1,500 hours of service:
1,000 hours of service:
500 hours of service:
Manager of Volunteers and Interns
Subscribe to the Nature Museum blog and never miss a post!