Posts Tagged 'volunteer spotlight'

Thoughtful Thursday: Inspiring the Next Generation of Ocean-Lovers

Our celebration of National Volunteer Appreciation Week continues with a special story about one of the Aquarium’s volunteers and her students!

Abbe Harman has been a volunteer supporter of the National Aquarium for 28 years and a teacher for for Frederick County Public Schools for 25 years. As an Enrichment Specialist at Middletown Elementary School, Abbe works closely with fifth grade students, teaching them about the Chesapeake Bay watershed and coral reef ecosystems!

Yesterday, Abbe hosted a large group of her fifth graders for a special field trip tot he Aquarium! The students were able to see their teacher in-action, as she led an interactive lesson and fed the animals in our Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit!

national aquarium volunteer diver

In the weeks leading up to their field trip, Abbe’s students also had the opportunity to enter an essay contest for the opportunity to go on a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Aquarium.

Abbe, from all of us here at the National Aquarium, thank you for being a longtime supporter of our mission and an impactful educator.

Do you volunteer? Share your story with us in the comments section and online using #NVW14!

Volunteer Spotlight: Jillie Drutz, Chesapeake Conservation Corps

We would like to welcome the newest volunteer of the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!), Jillie Drutz! Joining the National Aquarium as the 4th Chesapeake Conservation Corps (CCC) volunteer the department has hosted, Jillie will be dedicating a year to helping the Conservation department in their endeavors to conserve, restore, and educate about the Chesapeake watershed.

national aquarium volunteer jillie

The Chesapeake Conservation Corps, a program supported by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, was established in 2010 by the Maryland Legislature in order to provide environmental service-learning opportunities for young professionals interested in pursuing conservation careers. The initiative pairs around 25 Corps volunteers with environmental organizations focusing on Chesapeake Bay conservation all throughout Maryland.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Jillie graduated in May of 2013 from the George Washington University in Washington, DC where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Biological Anthropology. She always knew that one day she would dedicate some time to working to protect the Chesapeake Bay, which is why she applied to the Chesapeake Conservation Corps. Jillie feels extremely honored to be assigned to the National Aquarium, where she gets to combine her love of fieldwork and education, and where she can learn more about how a museum institution can be involved in the local community.

Jillie has already had the opportunity to participate in wetland restoration at the Masonville fringe wetland and riparian buffer restoration at Farring-Baybrook Park and Indian Head Naval Facility. She has also worked with students in our Wetland Nursery Program. She enjoys working with community volunteers and students from various backgrounds during these projects, and is excited for the opportunity to give back to her city and her Bay. She cannot wait for the field season to start again in the Spring!

Sign up for one of our upcoming conservation events and come meet our new volunteer!

Volunteer Spotlight: Kara Brown

volunteerspotlight_baltimore

Meet Kara Brown, one of our amazing community volunteers who has generously donated her time at our restoration events (and converted it into dollars through T. Rowe Price’s “dollars for doers” employee program)!

Kara has volunteered at numerous of our planting events, including this project at Indian Head!

Kara has volunteered at numerous of our planting events, including this project at Indian Head!

How long have you been volunteering with the National Aquarium?

Although I had wanted to volunteer for the Aquarium for several years, nothing worked out with my schedule until June 2012, so just since this past year.

What motivated you to volunteer and why do you continue?

I was motivated to volunteer to help rectify some of the damage done by centuries of misuse of the Chesapeake Bay.  The Indian Head shoreline restoration project was perfect- it has great importance, fit my schedule, and would allow me to utilize my employer’s “dollars for doers” program, which made a donation to the Aquarium based on the number of hours that I volunteered.  I hope to be able to continue volunteering with the Aquarium, as the work they do is so important to restoring health to the Bay and the world’s oceans.

What is your most memorable experience from an event?

I would have to say my most memorable experience was the 110 degree heat index during the Indian Head shoreline restoration!  But seriously, it has been seeing the hard work and selfless dedication of a core of repeat volunteers, and the Aquarium employees.  It is amazing to witness how much can be accomplished in a short amount of time by a small group of caring people.

Does your work with the National Aquarium tie into your job or other volunteer work you are engaged in?

The work that I did with the National Aquarium definitely goes hand in hand with my personal life and other volunteer work.  As an avid outdoors person and paddler, I am a long time member of the Baltimore Canoe and Kayak Club.  I have participated in river cleanups organized by the club for several years.  These cleanups have removed many tons of trash – appliances, over 1,000 tires, and even several complete cars – from two area rivers and their shores.

Thanks for all the hard work and support, Kara! Want to become a volunteer? Click here to find out how! 

Volunteer Spotlight: Scott Barr

Get to know a little more about a member of the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!), Scott Barr, and what motivates him to volunteer.

How long have you been volunteering with ACT and what keeps you coming back to volunteer with the program?
I have been volunteering with ACT for about three years now. I began volunteering with ACT shortly after I started working at the National Aquarium because I thought it sounded like a fun opportunity to impact the world positively, and a chance to spend time outdoors getting to know coworkers that I might not cross paths with during routine day-to-day activities. That all turned out to be true and still holds true for my time with ACT; I meet new and interesting people on all of the trips. It is also a great time outdoors and, if you’re lucky, in the sunshine! The Aquarium Conservation Team does a great job of being welcoming and inclusive, which makes working with them always enjoyable.

Scott digging holes at Indian Head for a staff member to plant

What motivated you to join and become a team leader?
I guess for the most part I was motivated by the energy of the other ACT members and the Conservation Department leaders. It’s hard not to rise to the level of that enthusiasm. The groups that join us for the field days are looking for an impactful conservation activity and an opportunity to learn how we are helping to protect natural [environments]; being a team leader helps to facilitate these goals. It is also an opportunity to learn more myself. And who doesn’t like to play around in the mud once in a while, let the kid inside you live!

What is your most memorable experience from an ACT event?
The most memorable experience I had was a group of Girl Scouts that we had [at the 2009 Barren Island] planting. All I could think at the start was “I hope they bring some Thin Mints to get us through all of the squealing and giggles,” but it turned out to be a really strong group. The girls were all focused and eager to plant and didn’t mind any of the muck. They were vigorous and interested and actually kept me on my toes with all of the questions they kept asking; I didn’t know a steady stream of inquiries could be sustained through an entire day of digging holes and putting plants in the ground, but I can now attest to the untiring minds of youth. Luckily for me, their chaperones couldn’t maintain the same stamina or I might still be answering questions on that island.

Scott lays out wetland grasses for a Girl Scout troop to plant on Barren Island

Does your work with ACT tie into your job or other volunteer work you are engaged in?
It would be hard not to find a way in which ACT doesn’t tie in with working at the National Aquarium. The mission of the Nation Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures–what could be more true to the mission than the Aquarium Conservation Team? As part of ACT, you strive to inspire volunteers at the same time that you are working directly to achieve conservation. Teamwork, communication, and engagement are key parts of ACT that also blend into the regular duties of my job.

Sounds like fun, right?! Click Here if you are interested in volunteering at any of our conservation events or joining the ACT! program. And be sure to sign up to receive our Conservation e-newsletter.


Sign up for AquaMail

Twitter Updates


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 236 other followers