Volunteer Spotlight: Michaela T.

At the Greensboro Science Center, we are honored to welcome approximately 750 volunteers each year, giving a cumulative 36,000+ hours of their time. With a friendly greeting and a warm smile, our volunteers help us carry out our mission each day, educating our visitors about our animals and exhibits and inspiring them to learn more.

Meet Michaela T. Michaela says volunteering at the GSC combines the things she loves most – talking to people and being around animals!

Michaela T.

I have been a volunteer at the Science Center since the summer of 2015. I started out as an Animal Ambassador and loved it, so I then became a Zoo Docent in the fall of 2015. Ever since I was a kid, I was in love with the Science Center. I remember coming with my school group and crowding around the old Touch Tank with my other classmates and visiting the Herp Lab to look at the snakes, turtles and lizards.  I thought it would be the best to volunteer here and was so thrilled when I was accepted last spring.  This has been a great experience since I hope to one day work as a zookeeper. It also allows me to be around all the animals that my mom won’t let me keep at home!

My favorite stations in the Zoo rotation are the Discovery House and the Herp Lab.  I love to tell visitors about our incredible animals and to show them how special they are.  Most people that are fearful of animals like snakes are excited to have the opportunity to touch a snake and see how gentle they really are.

Volunteering at the Science Center combines the things that I love the most—talking to people, especially children, and being around animals.  Once, when I was working at Friendly Farm, a woman in a wheelchair came up with her husband and sat looking into the farm. I remember the huge smile she wore after I asked if she wanted to come inside.  I helped her through the gate and she sat in her chair and laughed as the goats and the children played around her.  I was just so happy she could enjoy the farm with everyone else.

Volunteer Spotlight: Bill L.

At the Greensboro Science Center, we are honored to welcome approximately 750 volunteers each year, giving a cumulative 36,000+ hours of their time. With a friendly greeting and a warm smile, our volunteers help us carry out our mission each day, educating our visitors about our animals and exhibits and inspiring them to learn more.

This week, we’d like to introduce you to Bill L:

Bill L.

I have been volunteering at the Greensboro Science Center for 1.5 years.  I typically volunteer on weekends, special events and whenever the Volunteer Department sends out an SOS call.  When I retire, I plan on spending more time at the Science Center.  I currently volunteer as a Docent in the aquarium.

I have worked with animals most of my life and it has brought me great joy, especially turtles and birds.  I also enjoy public speaking.  Working in the aquarium has allowed me to do both at the same time.

I have three goals each time I volunteer:  To engage, to enlighten, and to entertain.  I want our guests to enjoy their experience and to walk away with a new appreciation of animals.  I believe that increasing people’s interest in animals is the key to successful animal conservation.

At the end of a shift, I go home tired and happy!

Volunteer Spotlight: Wayne Y.

At the Greensboro Science Center, we are honored to welcome approximately 750 volunteers each year, giving a cumulative 36,000+ hours of their time. With a friendly greeting and a warm smile, our volunteers help us carry out our mission each day, educating our visitors about our animals and exhibits and inspiring them to learn more.

Meet Wayne Y, a volunteer who has been with the GSC for four years!

Wayne Y.

I have been a volunteer for four years, beginning with the Titanic Exhibit and as a Zoo Docent.  I currently volunteer once or twice a week as an aquarium docent and nearly every Friday as a diver in Shark Reef.

 

My first degree was in Marine Biology and I was a teacher for 21 years, before going into real estate, so science and especially marine science, is in my blood.  I love sharing my love of these creatures with the public, particularly kids.

 

On my birthday this year, the aquarists invited me to help them feed the octopus.  It was one of the most exciting moments in my time at GSC. When I think back to a funny event that has happened during my time volunteering has to be on April 1st, April Fool’s Day, of this year, which also happened to be one of my first aquarium dives.  Since I was fairly new to the tank, there was another diver with me.  Just prior to the dive, I slipped a tooth from a huge prehistoric shark called a Megalodon (much larger than anything living today) into my wetsuit sleeve.  As we were diving, I called out to my partner “Hey, look, I found a shark’s tooth!” and showed him the tooth.  We both laughed, but when I turned to the window, the kids’ eyes were as big as saucers.  “Happy April Fool’s Day!”

 

When I taught science, I always loved that “Ah ha” moment when a student learned or experienced something new and exciting.  I see that at GSC whenever someone touches a sting ray for the first time or sees me diving inches away from a shark.  The excitement they feel is like electricity that lights me up too.  I also love being associated with the hard-working men and women who work behind the scenes to make those experiences possible.  I still work full-time, so volunteering is my “break time” that recharges my batteries.  Thank you GSC!

Plarn Workshop

Conservation Action: Plarn Workshop

Give new life to your plastic shopping bags with plarn! Plarn (plastic + yarn) is a fun project material that can be used in your knitting and crochet projects. Plastic shopping bags typically have a useful lifespan of about 15 minutes, but they last in our landfills for centuries and cannot be recycled in your bins at home (they have to back to the grocery store). Reusing these bags by weaving them into anything from floor mats to reusable bags is a fun way to decrease the amount of plastic bags going into our landfills.

On Saturday, August 20 from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., the Greensboro Science Center will be hosting a plarn weaving workshop. Tori Carle, the City of Greensboro’s recycling educator, will be on site to teach you how to repurpose your plastic shopping bags for knitting and crochet projects.

What to bring:

  • at least 10 plastic shopping bags
  • Q sized crochet hook (16mm)

Need a project idea?

The City of Greensboro is collecting sleeping mats made from plarn to distribute to the homeless in our community who need portable sleeping surfaces that will provide a barrier for those who sleep on the ground. These mats will be distributed by Greensboro police offers and the Interactive Resource Center. The City’s goal is to collect 100 plarn bed rolls by October 1. Learn more about Operation Bed Roll on the City of Greensboro’s website: www.greensboro-nc.gov/plarn

Be sure to join us on Saturday, August 20 to learn a neat new skill with a cool conservation edge!

Volunteer Spotlight: Sam H.

At the Greensboro Science Center, we are honored to welcome approximately 750 volunteers each year, giving a cumulative 36,000+ hours of their time. With a friendly greeting and a warm smile, our volunteers help us carry out our mission each day, educating our visitors about our animals and exhibits and inspiring them to learn more.

This week, we’d like to introduce you to Sam H. Sam has been volunteering with us for just over a year.

Sam H

I have been a volunteer for one year, as of June, working as an Exhibit Guide in SciPlay Bay and Health Quest. There are also opportunities for me to work at special events like Pumpkin Palooza and the Tuxedo Trot. I tend to volunteer my required shifts and do more than required during the summer!

 

What drew me into volunteering is that I love to work with the public and children. My school, Wesleyan Christian Academy encourages us to volunteer and help the public.

 

Volunteering provides many funny experiences for us.  At the Tuxedo Trot 5K, I was cheering on people and we got to the end of the race. I thought there were some runners still coming and instead it was volunteers and I had no idea it was them! So I was cheering for them and excited for them to make the finish line. Then once I realized they were volunteers, we laughed!

 

What makes being part of the Volunteer Program rewarding for me is I get to serve the community. It’s also fun because I am in the know as to what happens at GSC before the public gets to know!

Kelli Crawford Receives 2016 Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service

By Kelli Crawford, Resource Manager of Volunteers and Collections at the Greensboro Science Center

On Monday, July 25, I traveled to Raleigh to receive the Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service.  It was an incredibly humbling experience, even more so because it came as a result of the support I’ve received from the Volunteer Center of Greensboro, the Greensboro Science Center, and our outstanding volunteers.

Kelli with Governor’s Medallion Award Recipients

With my husband, parents and brother watching, I sat in the capitol building surrounded by some truly incredible volunteers.  As I listened to excerpts from their nominations, I recognized in those twenty volunteers many of the qualities I’ve seen in the volunteers who dedicate their time to the Greensboro Science Center.  These selfless individuals serve their organizations not for an award, but because they believe in the mission and want to be a vital part of helping that organization achieve it.  That’s true of our volunteers as well.

The ceremony gave me the opportunity to meet Governor Pat McCrory for a short time before he had to head out for a speaking engagement.  In his place, Susan Kluttz, the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, actually gave each of us our medals.  They recognized 21 volunteers total in the following categories:  Senior, Youth, Mentor, Group/Team, Lifetime Achievement, Faith-Based, Disaster, Corporate/Business, Perseverance in Volunteerism, and Director of Volunteers.

Kelli and Susan Kluttz

Just as each of our volunteers does not serve to be recognized, I don’t do this job with that in mind.   I do it because I truly believe in the difference one individual can make in their community.  Our volunteers have shown me that.  Yet with recognition comes positive growth for our program.  In the past few years, we’ve been fortunate to have one of our own, Jim Blalock, win the award for Individual Volunteer of the Year in 2014 for Guilford County.  Our program was recognized as Non-Profit Volunteer Program of the Year in 2015 for Guilford County.  This most recent statewide recognition may be in my name, but it is truly a reflection of the hard work of the volunteers I am blessed to lead and learn from every day.

I often tell our volunteers that they are the face of the Greensboro Science Center.  They’re out on the floor engaging with our visitors on a daily basis.  They’re the ones who get to tell a visitor everything they want to know about that favorite Javan gibbon – his or her name, age, diet, personality quirks, likes and dislikes.  Those conversations can ignite an awareness of that species as a whole.  That’s the fun pa

rt and the part that really gets to the core of our mission.  Yet they’re also the people who may be tasked with telling a visitor that their favorite animal has passed away.  Seeing the care and concern they display in such difficult times makes me incredibly proud.  There are unique perks to being a volunteer at a facility like ours, but it’s not always easy.  The grace they exemplify, their constant desire to improve, to gain knowledge and to serve is inspiring.

I want to thank all of our volunteers for their selfless service, their dedication to conservation and education, and their implicit trust that my team and I are working hard each day for their benefit.  We want them to enter our doors knowing that they’ve got the resources they need to make a difference and leave them knowing that they did.  They make us proud every day.  I’m incredibly honored to have represented all of them in Raleigh and look forward to continuing to work with them to Volunteer.  Educate.  Inspire.

Kelli with Family

Greensboro Science Center Volunteer Program Logo

Volunteer Spotlight: Marlene D.

At the Greensboro Science Center, we are honored to welcome approximately 750 volunteers each year, giving a cumulative 36,000+ hours of their time. With a friendly greeting and a warm smile, our volunteers help us carry out our mission each day, educating our visitors about our animals and exhibits and inspiring them to learn more.

This week, we’d like you to meet Marlene D. Marlene is currently our longest serving active volunteer!

Marlene D.

I have been volunteering for about 24 years anywhere from one to three days a week as an Exhibit Guide or for special events.

 

I have always enjoyed interacting with the public and telling them about an exhibit so they can get full enjoyment and education. I previously worked as a Zoo Docent until experiencing health issues and the doctor suggested that I work indoors instead. I have appreciated the opportunity to work in a variety of areas.

 

I discovered that I get a real thrill out of working with children and seeing their smiling faces telling me that they are having a great time at the Science Center. About three months ago, a young girl walked down the hallway looking around in wonder and said, “This is the most wonderful place in the whole world”. It was her first time at GSC!