Thoughts from a New Volunteer Coordinator
By Amy Sanders, Wild Care Volunteer Coordinator.
What a month! In the interest of full disclosure (having written “Adventures of a Volunteer” for several years), I am now fortunate to be an actual employee of Wild Care, but, I’m also still a volunteer for things that are not part of my job description! All my field rescue work and educational outreach is volunteered. I will still do baby bird shifts, feed baby squirrels, and lots of other things, including writing more “Adventures of a Volunteer,” as a volunteer.
But I am now staff too, as the Volunteer Coordinator—I think a karma thing of sorts. For years I’ve been terrible at logging my hours and now, well, I’m in charge of chasing folks around who don’t log their hours. How appropriate. I have to log not only my hours as a volunteer, but also those “on the clock”. It’s me who will attempt to schedule volunteers in clinic and baby bird shifts. And, I’ll be in charge of coordinating myself, perhaps my most challenging task.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m an early retired Special Education teacher, with 33 years of teaching elementary students, mostly at Orleans Elementary. I’m an artist as well, actively painting for Addison Art Gallery (so Saturday nights I’m not usually available to Wild Care). I live far, far away from Wild Care, in Truro, with a goofball of a rescue dog named Ben, and two absolutely crazy formerly feral cats named Clara and Maisie, who enjoy beating each other up despite having been advertised as so closely bonded as to be inseparable. I am a complete and total nature nut and tree hugger.
It’s my hope as your Volunteer Coordinator to be very available for open and frequent communications with volunteers, including questions, concerns, etc. I am very good on email ([email protected]) and check the incoming mail at least twice a day. I have been pretty good about answering within the day, two days at most. I am also reachable by phone, and by text at 508-560-3640. I generally prefer email (because I typically write better than I speak), but there are of course, those of you who hate email more than I hate the phone, and periodic emergencies (especially in baby bird shifts where I hope to be readily available to you most of the time). Though I live a bit of a distance away, I still I hope to be around the actual grounds a lot—at least enough to get to know many of you, if not all of you.
We also hope to step up our training. Some of you have indicated in recent communications that you don’t always feel comfortable in field rescues. So, we are planning a field rescuer training in February for new folks, and anyone already doing it who would like to come. I will be there as will two other experienced rescuers, and Jennifer! Training, tips, and fun. You’ll hear more about that in January.
Having noticed last year significant variation in methods among the baby bird feeders (myself included in this group), I hope to do something to bring everyone on to the same page before the new season for the sake of our young feathered friends. This might be in writing for the veterans, combined with an actual training session for the new folks with the same experienced person. More will be determined on that as we get closer, assuming I last that long (that is a joke… I hope).
I’d also like to add an educational component to the Volunteer Program, for those of you who are interested. I am entering my 6th year of volunteering and chasing clinic staff around learning everything I can. I also just finished a class for Wildlife Rehabilitation, and just passed my state exam! I expect to have my license sometime in January. Some of you have indicated a desire to learn more about our wild friends (I always am!). I’m open to hearing what specifically you would like to learn about, and how you’d like this to happen. A newsletter? A get together? A Zoom meeting?
In whatever way we do it, dear volunteers, please let’s do keep in touch. And please do respond to my emails. Otherwise, you force me to harass you on the phone, and I don’t like harassing people on the phone (and there are a lot of you, so needing to personally call everyone can really slow down my progress).
Wishing you all a Happy Holidays, and a happy and healthy 2022—a year of combining our best collective efforts to help our wild friends, and enjoy ourselves a whole lot along the way!
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