Volunteer of the Month: Ser Anderson
Ser is a familiar face in many of our Visiting Naturalist in the Schools classrooms and field trips. After growing up in Missoula and attending the University of Montana, Ser has deep knowledge about the local natural environment. Ser’s approachable and even-keeled teaching style connects really well with our 4th and 5th grade VNS students, especially in Field VNS classes and on field trips. Ser is patient, kind, and has a wonderful way of sharing knowledge with young and old alike. We are both happy and sad that Ser recently took a new position with the Polson Library–the folks in Polson are lucky! Thank you, Ser! We hope to see you again soon!
Volunteer of the Month: Sherry MacLauchlan
Sherry is one of MNHC’s more recent volunteers, but in her short tenure here has proven herself to be a valuable asset, and a wonderful person to have around. She has been eager to learn how to manage the front desk, proving herself very adept at overcoming the quirky temperament of the credit card machine. So far, none of the office equipment has stumped her and she has made herself very available to help out – even with short notice. Her very affable personality and easygoing attitude has made her a wonderful volunteer!
Thank you, Sherry!
Volunteer of the Month: Nani Hamilton
Nani is a relatively new volunteer with the Montana Natural History Center, and we are so glad to have her as a part of our community! A Missoula native, Nani started volunteering with MNHC in late summer, near the end of her term with the Montana Conservation Corps. She stepped in to fill the front desk role while our office manager was out for a period of time over the past months, and she quickly proved herself to be capable, responsible, and a great personality to have around MNHC. She is generous with her time, and has also jumped right in to help with MNHC’s education and travelling trunks programs as well. We so appreciate her dedication, positivity, and creativity, and we’re happy she decided to become an MNHC volunteer! Thank you, Nani!
Volunteer of the Month: Suzanne Elfstrom
This month we want to recognize Suzanne Elfstrom, this year’s Auction Chair for our Annual Fall Auction and Banquet Chair (coming up on October 7th!). We want to give her a huge THANK YOU for her time, energy, and effort to make this year’s event another huge success. Suzanne is the Director of Public Relations, Social Media and Paid Media at PartnersCreative, but she still finds time to volunteer with us and several other lucky non-profits around our community. Her smile and go-get-’em attitude makes her a wonderful person to work with!
Volunteer of the Month: Micki Long
Resettling in Montana after a career as an English professor in Ohio, Micki came to the Montana Natural History Center interested in transferring to the Montana Master Naturalist Program from a similar program in Ohio and getting involved as a volunteer– and we are so glad she did! Over the past year, Micki has proven to be a reliable, gregarious, and enthusiastic volunteer, helping in our Visiting Naturalist in Schools program, with school center visits, and leading nature walks with everyone from our homeschool VNS students to filmmakers from the International Wildlife Film Festival. We appreciate Micki for her wonderful personality, her deep background knowledge and her ability to present it in a way that excites curiosity and engages young and old alike. Thank you, Micki!
Volunteer of the Month: Valerie Bayer
Valerie has been involved with MNHC since becoming a Master Naturalist in 2009, and has been invaluable to our work ever since! She is so generous with her time and talent, and has helped MNHC in myriad ways over the years. Currently, Valerie is teaching Visiting Naturalist in the Schools and Junior VNS classes at Alberton School, in addition to volunteering in other VNS classes and assisting with our Master Naturalist course. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her volunteer work with MNHC, and is a wonderful inspiration to go out an explore nature (and she’s also a great source for tips on how to be a better naturalist!) We so appreciate Valerie’s hard work, dedication, enthusiasm, thoughtfulness, tenacity and passion for helping others appreciate nature. Thank you, Valerie!
Volunteer of the Month: Jenah Mead
Jenah is currently serving as MNHC’s education intern, and we are thrilled to have her as part of the team! A student in the University of Montana wildlife biology program, Jenah is a skilled and enthusiastic naturalist, educator, organizer, and artist. Whether teaching and assisting in our miniNaturalists and Visiting Naturalist in the Schools programs, organizing donations for the fall auction, conducting outreach, or any of the other myriad little things that come up around the Montana Natural History Center, Jenah succeeds with grace, creativity, and enthusiasm. Her positive attitude, laughter, deep knowledge, and excellent work ethic make her a highly valued part of the MNHC family, and we are honored that she chooses to spend some of her busy schedule with us. Thank you, Jenah!
Volunteer of the Month: Monica Kronenwetter
Monica has been volunteering with MNHC for over a year now, mostly working in our Visiting Naturalists in the Schools program. Monica brings her experience as an interpretive park ranger to VNS classrooms and field trips, and is a great member of our team. She has a calm confidence that helps her engage all types of students and adults in nature, making them feel comfortable and excited about exploring the outdoors. We appreciate the enthusiasm, knowledge, people-management skills, and dedication that she brings to hervolunteer work. We will miss seeing her as often in the next few months, but wish her well as she starts a winter seasonal position in Glacier National Park. Thank you, Monica!
Volunteer of the Month: Larry DePute
Larry DePute started volunteering with MNHC about a year ago, and has been using his knowledge of anatomy and engineering to prepare specimens to improve our collection ever since! One of his first big projects was articulating the bald eagle skeleton that is now on display at the Montana Natural History Center. He then went on to prepare an array of other specimens, including bird wings, feet, and skins that will be used to connect people with nature through MNHC’s Visiting Naturalist in Schools, miniNaturalists, Outdoor Discovery Day Camp, Master Naturalist, and other programs. In total, he has prepared over 216 specimens for the Montana Natural History Center so far! Larry has also shared his knowledge with others through our Saturday Kids Activity program. We are so grateful for his hard work, enthusiasm, generosity, and the positive energy he brings to MNHC. Thank you, Larry!
Volunteer of the Month: Ian Davidson
As a relatively new volunteer, Ian has already jumped into making a difference throughout the Montana Natural History Center. He lent his talents to our Fall Celebration and Auction, and was a great addition to our October Visiting Naturalist in the Schools field trips. Most recently, he helped design and construct a stage for use at our Evening with a Naturalist series and other events. We so appreciate his diverse skills, enthusiasm, and positive nature! Thank you, Ian!
Volunteer of the Month: Julie Ellison
Julie started volunteering with the Montana Natural History Center after earning her Master Naturalist certification in 2014. She has been an enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer with our Visiting Naturalist in Schools program, as well as a wonderful fall auction volunteer over the past couple of years. Julie can be counted on to step up and help out with a smile on her face, even at the last minute. We all appreciate her passion, positive attitude, reliability, and great rapport with children, teachers, and community members! Thank you, Julie!
Volunteers of the Month: Ed Monnig and Jackie Wedell
Ed Monnig and Jackie Wedell are the co-chairs of our annual Fall Celebration and Auction (coming up onOctober 3rd!) and we want to give them a huge THANK YOU for all of their time and effort to make this year’s event another big success for MNHC. Ed and Jackie have been volunteering at MNHC for several years now, and this year they’ve done even more, spending many hours running committee meetings, planning, securing silent auction items and sponsors and rallying our committee and board. We so appreciate their time, energy and ideas. Thank you, Ed and Jackie!
Volunteer of the Month: Julius Metcalf
Julius has been volunteering at MNHC since spring 2014, and this past summer he interned in our Native Plant Garden at Fort Missoula, which also included helping with projects around the small native plant garden at MNHC. He’s done so much to help us organize, beautify, and maintain these spaces. Come admire the native bee house he set up in front of MNHC, or the nature loom he made for the summer camp kids, or just enjoy how peaceful and lovely and well-weeded and -watered our gardens are thanks to Julius’s hard work. We so appreciate his time, energy and creativity! Thank you, Julius!
Volunteer of the Month: Theo Hanson
Theo is at MNHC as an AmeriCorps VISTA member this summer, and he’s been doing a great job working with our summer camp program. He’s been working to build more service learning into our summer camp curricula as well as help us establish closer connections with various experts at UM. He’s also been providing general support for summer camps, from collecting supplies, getting kids signed in and to the right classrooms on Monday mornings, and assisting with kayaking trips and other special activity days. We so appreciate his hard work and willingness to do an ever-expanding list of tasks! Thank you, Theo!
Volunteer of the Month: Bruce Baty
Bruce is a retired Earth Sciences & Geology teacher from Hellgate High School, and has been using his expertise at MNHC for the past few months to help identify and sort our unruly collection of rocks and minerals. MNHC has a number of random specimens, and we are always grateful when a knowledgeable volunteer can help us make the best possible use of them! Bruce has also been working to organize and improve our Mining Trunk and helping to create a Montana Geology Trunk. Thank you, Bruce!
Volunteer of the Month: Mark Metcalf
Mark joined the MNHC board just a little over a year ago, but he’s gotten involved in myriad ways in that time! In addition to garnering sponsors and donations for our auction, he’s also helping to plan MNHC’s 25th anniversary celebration (coming in 2016), and is getting involved in our new ID Nature program. He’s enjoying working with our staff to create video content to be used in many different arenas, from education to promotion to celebration. We so appreciate Mark’s enthusiasm, creativity, generosity, and humor, and are grateful to have him on our board. Thank you, Mark!
Volunteer of the Month: Tom McKean
Though we’ve recognized Tom with this honor once before, we wanted to acknowledge him once again, as he’s spent the last year working hard as our Forest for Every Classroom & Education Intern. Interns put in a lot of work for fairly small rewards, and Tom has done a fabulous job on a variety of tasks. He’s done a lot of behind-the-scenes work with our Forest for Every Classroom fall and winter teacher workshops; developed interpretation for our prairie exhibit; written Field Notes for Montana Public Radio and an article for Montana Naturalist magazine; updated one of our nature education traveling trunks; and, finally, used his incredible artistic skills to create a brand-new exhibit on the Pleistocene, which we’ll be installing later this month–be sure to come and check it out! We so appreciate Tom’s hard work, quiet enthusiasm, and creative talents, and wish him the best as he graduates from UM this spring! Thank you, Tom!
Volunteer of the Month: Melissa Shults
Melissa is another one of our fantastic Master Naturalists, who took the class last spring after moving here from Oregon, wanting to get to know the flora and fauna of her new home. Since then she’s gotten involved in our Visiting Naturalist in the Schools program, helping in several classrooms with both our regular VNS program and Field VNS classes. She’s spent some Thursday mornings assisting with our miniNaturalist preschool program, too. We so appreciate her dedication and enthusiasm for teaching kids about nature! Thank you, Melissa!
Volunteer of the Month: Shelby Kinch
Shelby started volunteering with MNHC last summer, assisting with our summer camps as a part of our Leader in Training Program. She spent several years attending MNHC summer camps as a kid, and was excited to get involved last year as an assistant instructor. Shelby has continued her volunteering throughout the school year, helping out with all of our Secret Science nights and evening programs. She’s the friendly face you see at the front desk when you walk in for a lecture, movie, or Naturalist Trivia Night! We so appreciate her passion for learning and teaching, and her willingness to get involved in so many ways. Thank you, Shelby!
Volunteer of the Month: Sherri Lierman
Sherri has been volunteering with MNHC since last summer. She’s helping out in several VNS classrooms, including our Lolo Field VNS classes, and she was a great help on our fall field trips, too! She’s also been assisting with our miniNaturalist program and Saturday Kids’ Activities. Sherri has a wealth of knowledge about rocks and fossils, and in addition to lending us unique specimens from her personal collection, she is working to organize MNHC’s rock and mineral collection so we can better share it with our visitors. We’re so grateful to Sherri for lending us her time, energy, and talents, and being willing to help in so many ways. Thank you, Sherri!
Volunteer of the Month: Shirley Atkins
Shirley has a long history with MNHC, starting in the late 90s when she developed our Mount Jumbo trunk and subsequently created new curriculum for our Threatened & Endangered Species trunks. She also took one of our first Master Naturalist classes when it was offered through the University of Montana. She’s been an elementary school educator with a focus on environmental education for many years, and when she retired last year, MNHC was the perfect place for her to volunteer. She’s been immensely helpful with our Visiting Naturalist in the Schools program–leading fall field trips, assisting with our Field VNS program, and giving special focus to our VNS homeschool group. We so appreciate her lending her many skills and passion for environmental education to us–and to the many children who are privileged to learn from her. Thank you, Shirley!
Volunteer of the Year: Val Aerni
We honored Val as our Volunteer of the Year at our Fall Celebration & Auction.
Val’s relationship with MNHC began in 2010 when she worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the Montana Conservation Corps. She and her co-leader helped out with the Visiting Naturalist program’s classroom visits that spring and finished up by helping lead a number of the VNS May field trips. After 2010 Val kept on coming back to volunteer, giving us a huge helping hand every year with the Fall Celebration and Auction. This past year, we got to see her much more often, as she was our Education and Forest for Every Classroom intern while finishing up her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Montana.
We have so appreciated Val’s hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm over the past four years. Her creative energy, love for children and the outdoors, and constant curiosity about the natural world are an inspiration to us at MNHC and to all the kids who were lucky enough to learn from her. Thank you, Val!
Volunteer of the Month: Kim Ledger
Kim’s been volunteering with MNHC for nearly four years now, since early 2011. She’s loved helping out with our kids’ programs, from Saturday Kids’ Activities to VNS classroom visits to VNS field trips. We so appreciate all the time and energy she’s given to our field trips this fall, getting our VNS students excitedly learning about the natural world. Thank you, Kim!
Volunteer of the Month: Deb Birnbaum
Deb first got involved with MNHC in the spring of 2012, when she began helping out with our VNS program, as well as spending many hours womaning our front desk and typing up Field Notes. She became a Montana Master Naturalist in the summer of 2012, and over the past two years has been our go-to front desk volunteer when Deb or Lena are on vacation. We so appreciate her friendly smile, excellent attention to detail, and enthusiasm in greeting our visitors and welcoming them to MNHC! Thank you, Deb!
Volunteer of the Month: Jake Person
We’ve been so glad to have Jake helping us out at MNHC these past few months. He began as one of our field trip instructors for our spring VNS field trips, then stayed around to lead our pre-school summer camps with lots of enthusiasm and patience, and will be leading field trips again this fall. We’re grateful for his energy and dedication to teaching kids about nature. And aside from the paid work he’s done for us this year, he’s also been a great volunteer, going above and beyond helping out at several of our Big Sky Brewery concerts this summer, and even recruiting friends to help out, too! Thank you, Jake!
Volunteers of the Month: Youth Homes Crew
Jimmy & Ben’s Youth Homes crew of junior high boys (from the Dennis Radtke Home for Boys) have spent many hours at our Native Plant Garden this summer. They have mulched, moved rocks, weeded, moved telephone poles–basically taking on some of the most challenging tasks at our Native Plant Garden in the heat of the day, and doing these tasks with great energy and enthusiasm. We so appreciate their hard work and good attitude! Thank you, Youth Homes Crew!
Volunteer of the Month: John Bremer
So you may be thinking, “Hasn’t John already been a volunteer of the month?” And the answer to that is yes. But we feel he deserves this honor once again, because of his past few weeks of tireless effort in our environmental education library. Our new library space is slowly coming together as John works his way through the 70+ boxes of books, sorting, deleting, putting in careful order back on the shelves. We see him at MNHC most days, and so appreciate the time and effort he is putting in to make our library the best it can be. Stop in and say hello and see his progress! And look forward to the end of summer when John will have everything in perfect order once more, the books just waiting to be checked out. Thank you, John!
Volunteer of the Month: Heidi May
Heidi has been volunteering with MNHC since the spring of 2012, when she completed the Montana Master Naturalist Course. Since then, she’s been a steady presence at MNHC, volunteering with various VNS classes (and on numerous spring and fall field trips, several each sesaon!), many Saturday Kids’ Activities, and with our Fall Celebration & Auction each year. We are so grateful for Heidi’s dedication and cheerful presence in so many MNHC programs over the past two years! Thank you, Heidi!
Volunteer of the Month: Becca Paquette
Becca is one of our brand-new volunteers–she just moved to Missoula two months ago and started volunteering with MNHC as a way to get involved in the community. A lover of all things biological and scientific, she jumped right in at MNHC, helping with a slew of VNS classes, from our regular VNS lessons to the Field VNS program. We’re so grateful to have her knowledgeable, enthusiastic help in our VNS program and beyond! Thank you, Becca!
Volunteer of the Month: Tom McKean
Tom began getting involved with MNHC when he wrote a great Field Note on wolverines for his science writing class at UM last spring. He enjoyed it so much that he wrote another, this time on animals of the Pleistocene. And then he decided he wanted to intern with us this spring, and has been keeping busy helping with our Field VNS program and miniNaturalists, researching and writing blog posts, and working on improving the curriculum for our educational trunk on wolves. We’re so grateful for his hard work, focus, and enthusiasm for the natural world, and are glad to have him working with us this spring! Thank you, Tom!
Volunteers of the Month: Bill & Becky Peters
Bill and Becky are yet two more graduates of the Master Naturalist Course who have chosen to give their time and considerable energy to supporting MNHC. In the several years since certifying as Master Naturalists, they have helped lead VNS field trips at Lee Metcalf (sometimes filling in at the last minute), assisted in VNS classrooms, and faithfully distributed Montana Naturalist magazines to myriad locations in the Bitterroot Valley. We so appreciate their energy and enthusiasm in sharing the wonders of the natural world with everyone around them, young and old alike! Thank you, Becky & Bill!
Volunteer of the Month: Jamie Crouch
Jamie is yet another of our growing pool of volunteers who have come to MNHC through the Master Naturalist program.Since she graduated from the course last spring, Jamie has given dozens of hours to MNHC, from helping with our spring planting day to assisting with several of our VNS classes (including Franklin, Hellgate, and Lolo), both in the classroom and on our fall field trips. She loves volunteering with our VNS program, and we are so grateful that she’s chosen to put her naturalist skills to use in our VNS classrooms! Thank you, Jamie!
Volunteer of the Month: Sally Johnson
Sally is one of MNHC’s fabulous Board members, and has been with us since 2011. This past year, she took on the task of chairing our Fall Celebration and Auction, and we so appreciate the hard work and leadership that resulted in one of our most successful fundraisers ever! We are so grateful for her presence on our Board and all she does for MNHC.
Thank you, Sally!
2013 Volunteers of the Year: John & Shermy Bremer
John and Shermy began volunteering in MNHC’s library in 2011, and for the past couple of years the two of them have been familiar figures at MNHC. For a few hours each week they’d come in to inventory our book collection, clean and organize the library area, and process new books. Together they’ve kept the library in good order, and they shared our excitement about MNHC’s building project and new library space, even as they helped box up the 3,000+ books to be put in storage for the next few months.
Then, this past spring, Shermy and John discovered that the cancer Shermy had survived a few years ago had returned, and she passed away this past July. We miss her–her sense of humor and compassion and kindness, her cheer and her smile and her ever-present good spirits.
John continues to help with our garden programs and with the library collection, and he’s looking forward to helping us unpack all the books in our new space next spring. We are so grateful for John and Shermy, for all the time they’ve given to MNHC these past years. Thank you, John & Shermy.
Volunteer of the Month: Carly Harmon
Carly is one of MNHC’s newer volunteers, but already she’s been immensely helpful. She began volunteering this fall–one of our busiest times of year–and jumped right in to help with both our VNS field trips (volunteering for four full days!) and our Fall Celebration and Auction. Besides enjoying working with kids, Carly also has experience with museum exhibits and photography, and we look forward to her sharing those skills with us, too. Thank you, Carly!
Volunteer of the Month: Val Hingston
Val has been volunteering with MNHC for more than three years now, beginning in the spring of 2010 with her fellow MCCers, helping out with our VNS classroom visits & May field trips. Since then, she just keeps coming back–helping with more field trips, assisting with our auction–both putting together great silent auction packages & displays as well as helping on the night of the event–and giving her time and energy to the native plant garden programs as well. So when she asked about the possibility of interning at MNHC this year, we were thrilled, and signed her on immediately. We love having her around MNHC on a regular basis, and she’s been doing a marvelous job assisting with the Forest for Every Classroom Program, writing interesting & informative blog posts, developing lessons for our miniNaturalist program, and, yes, helping with the auction once again!
Volunteer of the Month: Lena Viall
Lena has been volunteering with MNHC since the spring, and has jumped right in and gotten involved in a number of different programs. She not only assisted with our spring VNS field trips, but helped as well with our May Garden Party & Fundraiser, spent a day boxing up MNHC library books in preparation for our construction project, and has spent time this summer collecting silent auction donations for our Fall Celebration & Auction. We so appreciate Lena’s cheerfulness and willingness to help out in so many different ways!
Volunteer of the Month: Rachael Alter
Rachael has been enthusiastically involved with MNHC since taking the Master Naturalist course in the spring of 2012. It’s hard to find a program she hasn’t helped with! She’s led several field trips for our 4th and 5th grade VNS kids this past spring, and she also assisted with last year’s Fall Celebration & Auction, and our ladies garden luncheon fundraiser this May. In addition, she’s woman-ed the front desk several times over the past year, helped with Evening Lectures, and worked hard on our Garden Beautification Day by planting native shrubs and helping install the drip irrigation system. We so appreciate all the time and energy and good cheer she’s given to MNHC.
Volunteer of the Month: Penny Ritchie
Penny is one of MNHC’s wonderful board members, and not only gives her time to board meetings and planning, but is the silent auction chair for our fall fundraiser AND a great volunteer in our Visiting Naturalist in the Schools program. Penny has led stations on a number of our field trips this spring and last fall (and very good-naturedly led a station on her very first day–the day she was only supposed to be observing/training!). We so appreciate the time and energy she gives to MNHC and to our VNS kids.
Volunteer of the Month: Justin Bailey
Justin began volunteering at MNHC last fall, and has been an invaluable help ever since. He not only assists in several VNS classrooms (including Hamilton, Hawthorne, Hellgate, Chief Charlo, and Charlo), but he’s written a great Field Note on chickadees (which you can listen to here), helped us address envelopes for our winter appeal, been willing to fill in for last-minute volunteering, and is interested in simply helping in any way he can. We so appreciate his dedication and energy. Thank you, Justin!
Volunteer of the Month: Claire Muller
Claire has been volunteering at MNHC since early 2012, and has been delightfully helpful with a number of our programs. She’s led field trip stations for our 4th & 5th grade VNS students and helped out in a variety of VNS classrooms, lent a hand with Evening Lectures and Saturday Kids Activities, and assisted with last year’s Fall Celebration & Auction. Claire is also a certified Master Naturalist from spring 2012, and we so appreciate her dedication and involvement over the past year and more! Thank you, Claire!
Volunteer of the Month: Linda Pilsworth
Linda is another one of our fabulous Master Naturalist volunteers. She graduated from the class last spring, and since then has been impressively involved at MNHC, particularly with our Visiting Naturalist in the Schools program. She assists in several classrooms in a geographically wide variety of schools each month, including Franklin, Bonner, Charlo, and St. Ignatius, and we–and the students, and the teachers–so much appreciate her dedication and passion for engaging kids in the natural world! Linda is also passionate about native plant gardening, and volunteers both in our Native Plant Garden at Fort Missoula as well as the prairie section of UM’s Native Plant Garden. Thank you, Linda!
Volunteers of the Month: Ed Monnig & Jackie Wedell
Jackie and Ed are recently retired, and have returned to Missoula after years spent in other states. They got involved at MNHC again last summer by taking the Master Naturalist Course. Since then, they’ve continued to be involved as volunteers: Jackie has been helping in several VNS classrooms these past few months and has also been writing natural history pieces for kids that are aired on the Pea Green Boat on Montana Public Radio. Ed has written and recorded a number of excellent and informative Field Notes for Montana Public Radio, and has also recently joined the MNHC Board. We so appreciate Ed and Jackie’s enthusiastic involvement in MNHC programs and their willingness to share their writing (and other) talents with the community! Thank you, Jackie & Ed!
Volunteer of the Month/2012 Volunteer of the Year: Vicki Cox
Vicki has been enthusiastically involved with MNHC since taking the Montana Master Naturalist Course in the spring of 2010. She’s incredibly generous with her time in many ways—whether doing behind-the-scenes preparations at MNHC or being out in the field or classroom with our Visiting Naturalist kids. She has been one of our most dependable Visiting Naturalist in the Schools field trip volunteers, cheerfully leading stations on multiple field trips each spring and fall, and willing to fill in on short notice, too. She has an infectious energy when she teaches, and the kids respond to her eagerly. Vicki is upbeat and energetic, and we are so grateful to have her volunteering at MNHC. Thank you, Vicki!
Volunteer of the Month: Shanna Ungate
Shanna is one of our two fabulous interns this year, and she’s thrown herself into the tasks we give her with high energy. She’s been invaluable in helping us facilitate our Forest For Every Classroom professional workshop, doing everything from calling caterers to putting together slideshows to writing grants. In addition, she’s assisted in 4th grade classes with our Visiting Naturalist in the Schools program, created silent auction displays for our Fall Celebration, and helped with our miniNaturalist program for pre-schoolers. We so enjoy having her energetic, positive presence here at MNHC! Thank you, Shanna!
Volunteer of the Month: Mike Canetta
Mike is one of our two fantastic interns this school year, and has been working with MNHC since late August. He’s pursuing a master’s degree in Environmental Studies, and has a great deal of experience in naturalist interpretation (having worked for four summers in Grand Teton National Park). Mike has proven himself willing to help in any number of ways, from putting together silent auction displays to assisting (even last-minute) with our October field trips, and from helping kids learn about nature in our 4th grade VNS classrooms to writing informative and insightful blog posts (check them out at www.montananaturalist.blogspot.com). We so appreciate Mike’s quiet enthusiasm, his willingness to help with any project that needs to be done, and his interest in sharing the wonders of the nature with people of all ages. Thank you, Mike!
Volunteer of the Month: Ellen Knight
I can’t quite believe I have not yet honored our wonderful Ellen as a Volunteer of the Month–perhaps it is because she is (and always has been) such an integral part of MNHC that I don’t think of her as a volunteer so much as a fellow staff member–and a friend. Ellen was, in fact, one of the founding members of MNHC; she served on the Board for many years; and now continues to be deeply involved in multiple ways. She volunteers with our VNS program, particularly at Lowell, Chief Charlo, and Lewis & Clark; she teaches about aquatic insects in our Master Naturalist courses; attends many of our programs; and shares her wonder and knowledge of the natural world with everyone she meets. We are so grateful for her vision, passion, and compassion, and grateful, too, to get to see the the intricacies of nature through her eyes. Ellen, you are an inspiration to us all! Thank you, Ellen!
Volunteer of the Month: Kallie Moore
Kallie has been volunteering at MNHC since last winter, when she began helping with our VNS program at St. Joseph and enthusiastically assisting with Saturday Kids’ Activities and Evening Lectures. She spent many hours tabling for MNHC at various events in the spring, and over the summer, she spent multiple afternoons womaning the front desk at MNHC. She has also been helping with our silent auction preparations for the past few months. This month she’s stepping up her involvement even more by leading our Saturday Kids’ Activity on Funky Fossils! We so appreciate Kallie’s dedication to MNHC and her willingness to get involved in so many different ways! Thank you, Kallie!
Volunteer of the Month: Susan Martinsen
Susan has been involved with MNHC since our Auction last year, where she cheerfully greeted attendees and helped check folks in and out. This year she’s gotten even more involved, tabling at numerous community events, filling in
at the MNHC front desk over the past three months, and helping collect a variety of fun donations for our silent auction. We so appreciate her willingness to help in so many different ways, and wonder what we can rope her
into doing next . . . Thank you, Susan!
Volunteer of the Month: Sarah Lederle
Sarah has been volunteering with MNHC since May. After spending time in New Zealand taking horticulture classes, she wanted to learn more about the native plants of Montana, so she’s been helping out faithfully in our Native Plant Gardens at Fort Missoula–weeding, watering, assisting with programs, and teaching new volunteers about native plant care. She’s also been filling in at MNHC’s front desk this spring and summer, and we so appreciate her dedication, willingness to get involved, and her smiling presence! Thank you, Sarah!
Volunteer of the Month: Lucia McDermott
Lucia comes to MNHC from farther afield than most of our volunteers: she is a British student spending the summer in Missoula, and is volunteering in the area for a couple of months as part of her undergraduate degree. For the month of May, she focused her volunteer energies on MNHC–specifically, our Visiting Naturalist in the Schools field trips. Rain or shine, Lucia was outside every day, teaching 4th graders about the natural world. We so appreciate her dedicated and enthusiastic assistance during one of our busiest times of the year. Thank you, Lucia!
Volunteer of the Month: Nancy Gibson
Nancy is another of our fantastic volunteers who got involved with MNHC after taking the Master Naturalist Course. Since last summer, she’s been very involved with our Visiting Naturalist in the Schools program, assisting with both the Stevensville and St. Ignatius 4th-grade classes throughout the year, and occasionally helping out in other classrooms in the Bitteroot and Missoula as well. We so appreciate her love for the natural world and her enthusiasm in sharing that with our VNS kids and teachers. Thank you, Nancy!
Volunteer of the Month: Merle Loman
Merle is one of the wonderful volunteers who became involved with MNHC as a result of her participation in the Master Naturalist Course, which she took in the summer of 2011. Since then, she has assisted in our VNS classroom in Victor throughout the school year, and has shared her artistic talents with us through her photography. Merle has let us use her beautiful photos in Montana Naturalist magazine (in fact, her photo of a Stellar’s Jay was the cover shot of the winter 2011-2012 issue!), our 2011 Annual Report, and in other promotional materials. We so appreciate Merle’s creativity, passion for the natural world, and her enthusiasm in sharing that passion with others. Thank you, Merle!
Volunteers of the Month: Don & Andrea Stierle
Don and Andrea Stierle have been involved with MNHC since they took the Master Naturalist Course in the spring of 2011. Since then, they’ve participated in other Master Naturalist events, helped paint and do other work on our new Garden classroom, and gotten very involved in the Visiting Naturalist in the Schools Program. They have assisted MNHC Naturalist Brian Williams with his two fifth-grade classes at Frenchtown Elementary, and have helped out in classrooms at Chief Charlo as well. Andrea is also a talented artist, and you can see some of her lovely paintings of birds and other animals displayed this month in the MNHC gallery. We so enjoy both Don’s and Andrea’s thoughtfulness, knowledge, and their wonderful curiosity about the natural world. Thank you, Andrea and Don!
Volunteers of the Month: Sara Call and Nadia Soucek
This month we are honoring our two Campus Corps interns, Sara Call and Nadia Soucek, who are both graduate students in the Environmental Studies program at the University of Montana. They’ve kept busy the past five months developing curriculum for and leading the miniNaturalist program on Thursday mornings, assisting with auction preparations, participating in the VNS program, developing Kids’ Activities, tabling at community events, researching and writing articles for the Montana Naturalist magazine as well as our naturalist blog (check out their writing and photography at www.MontanaNaturalist.blogspot.com), and various other tasks. All of us at MNHC have so appreciated their enthusiasm, hard work, and always-cheerful presences. Thank you, Nadia and Sara!
Volunteer of the Year: Betty Oleson
At our Fall Fundraiser & Celebration this past year, we honored long-time MNHC Board Treasurer Betty Oleson with our Volunteer of the Year Award. Betty has been a stalwart member of MNHC’s Board and has been particularly generous with the time and attention she gives as our treasurer and financial advisor. As an avid outdoorswoman herself–particularly enjoying hiking, skiing and canoeing–Betty participates in many of our field outings and Discovery Days and communicates her enthusiasm for nature to everyone around her. We so appreciate the time and energy she has given to MNHC for so many years. Thank you, Betty!
Volunteer of the Month: Shermy Bremer
Shermy Bremer is MNHC’s newest volunteer librarian, who for the past several months has been helping her husband John in keeping the Ralph Lee Allen Environmental Education Library in good order. Together they have inventoried the children’s books, cleaned and reorganized the library space, processed new books, and kept the book check-out and check-in system running smoothly. Shermy and John come in for several hours each week to manage this resource, and we so appreciate Shermy’s willingness to be our second volunteer librarian. (By the way, all of our volunteers are welcome to check books out of the library! We have field guides, nature essays, and books on topics from geology to botany to oceanology. Check them out!) Thank you, Shermy!
Volunteers of the Month: Caitlin Gray & Laura Machial
October always brings us a number of fantastic volunteers, whether they’re helping with the auction or leading field trips. This month, we’d like to honor two of our newest volunteers who eagerly gave of their time and energy during one of our busiest seasons. Caitlin started volunteering at the end of September, just in time for field trips, and responded more than once to last-minute calls for help. She also contacted me several times throughout the month to inquire what days we still needed volunteers, and cheerfully signed up to lead stations. Laura happened to walk into MNHC the day of our auction volunteer training, and agreed immediately to both assist with our auction and get involved with field trips, helping in both capacities with smiling good cheer and enthusiasm. We are so grateful to have both of these wonderful women volunteering with MNHC! Thank you, Laura and Caitlin!
Volunteers of the Month: The Ruby-Keast Family: Bob, Dianne, and Sparrow
This month we are honoring an entire family who has been volunteering at MNHC for several months now. Dianne and daughter Sparrow began volunteering in the spring, assisting with Saturday Kids’ Activities, native plant garden programs, and silent auction solicitations. Whenever she came across a business that was not on our silent auction list, Dianne immediately asked the owners if they would be willing to donate an item or gift certificate for our auction, resulting in a wide variety of amazing packages for our silent auction. Bob (or “Sparrow’s dad,” as he sometimes introduces himself), has been incredibly helpful in navigating recent MNHC computer challenges and assisting us in streamlining our not-so-streamlined tech systems. Bob, Dianne, and Sparrow are also getting involved in our VNS program this fall, assisting our staff with classroom visits as well as leading field trip stations. We are so grateful to have this very special family giving their time and talents to MNHC! Thank you, Bob, Dianne, and Sparrow!
Volunteer of the Month: Hank Fischer
Hank has been MNHC’s Board President for many years now, and works tirelessly to keep MNHC well-funded and running smoothly so that we can continue to provide exciting, educational programs about nature for the community. Hank dreams up brilliant ideas for Explorers Club outings, garners amazing live auction items for our annual fundraiser, uses his writing talents to promote MNHC and its programs, and gives selflessly of his time, energy, and creativity in so many other ways we can’t even begin to list them all. Thank you, Hank!
Volunteer of the Month: Tim Yakubowski
Tim is one of MNHC’s brand-new volunteers, and already he has been invaluable. Interested in giving kids the same great experience he had with summer camps as a child, he has been assisting our staff in teaching our K-1st grade camps. He’s proven to be wonderfully talented in interacting with a dozen or more 5 and 6 year olds, both patient and enthusiastic as he teaches them about nature. We so appreciate Tim’s help during our busy summer camp season! Thank you, Tim!
Volunteer of the Month: Jodi Domsky
Jodi is our Summer Camp Intern this year, and has jumped into the job with enthusiasm. She not only tables for us at the Farmer’s Market, helps check in kids on the first day of camp, and entertains the camp kids during camp staff meetings, but she is also leading our K-1st grade camps this summer, as well as the miniNaturalist programs at the Native Plant Garden. She’s wonderful with kids, both patient and energetic, and we so appreciate her excitement and willingness to teach young people about nature. Thank you, Jodi!
Volunteer of the Month: Drew Fetherolf
Drew is a former MCC crew member, and has been volunteering with MNHC since February. Like so many of our volunteers, he jumped right in, assisting in VNS classrooms, helping with our after-school program, and, most recently, leading stations on our VNS field trips. Drew is a willing and enthusiastic volunteer, and has great fun teaching kids about their world–sharing his knowledge in such a way that the kids can’t help but be excited, too. Thank you, Drew!
Volunteers of the Month: Katie Arledge & Katy Morrison
Katie and Katy have been MNHC’s Campus Corps interns for the 2010-2011 school year. Since September they’ve been helping us in so many ways: assisting in our VNS classrooms, leading VNS field trips, developing curriculum, teaching Saturday Kids’ Activities, inventorying traveling trunks, assisting with Field Notes, working with our after-school programs, tabling at community events, and simply being willing to jump in and help whenever and wherever needed. Katy will be with us this summer, working as one of our summer camp staff, and Katie will be heading to Colorado, where she’ll be doing restoration work. Thank you, Katie & Katy!
Volunteer of the Month: Will Genadek
Will is one of our newest volunteers, but his help during his brief time with MNHC has been invaluable. Will began volunteering with us in February, and has been a dedicated and enthusiastic assistant with a number of our VNS classes– doing everything from teaching kids about bird wings to helping them write nature poetry. We so appreciate Will’s energy and interest in teaching kids about nature. Thank you, Will!
Volunteer of the Month: Vija Pelekis
Vija is one of our newer volunteers, and has been volunteering with MNHC since this past October, when she jumped right in to help with a number of our VNS field trips. Since then, she’s continued to be involved with VNS, helping out with several classroom visits per month, as well as tabling at special events such as the UM Volunteer Fair. We so appreciate Vija’s infectious enthusiasm and her passion for teaching kids about nature! Thank you, Vija!
Volunteer of the Month: John Bremer
John has been involved with MNHC for several years now, as a member, a Master Naturalist, and a Nature Adventure Garden volunteer. More recently, however, he has also taken on the task of Volunteer Librarian, assisting MNHC’s long-time librarian, Minie Smith, with the Ralph Lee Allen Environmental Education Library. For the past several months he has dedicated several hours per week to inventorying our library materials and brainstorming ways to improve this resource. We so appreciate his cheerfulness and organizational skills, and look forward to his weekly volunteer visits! Thank you, John!
Volunteer of the Month: Kevin Ewing
Kevin has been volunteering with MNHC for almost a year, assisting our staff naturalists in 4th grade classrooms as well as leading stations on our VNS field trips. We love having Kevin show up for field trips, binoculars in hand, eager to teach a group of kids about the natural world. He’s one of those great volunteers who calls us up a couple of times a month to let us know he has some free time and would love to help out. We so appreciate Kevin’s dedication to the Target Range and Frenchtown classes this year, as well as his ever-present enthusiasm for teaching kids about nature. Thank you, Kevin!
Volunteer of the Month: Ashley Sherburne
Ashley, an avid naturalist who is currently working toward her master’s in Curriculum & Instruction at UM, began volunteering with MNHC this September. She jumped right in by assisting in VNS classrooms and leading VNS field trips in October, and is always eager to help out where needed. We so appreciate her enthusiasm and dedication to teaching kids about nature. Thank you, Ashley!
Volunteer of the Month: Rebecca Smith
Rebecca completed the Montana Master Naturalist course in the spring of 2009, and has been an active volunteer with our VNS field trips ever since. She commits to leading stations on several of our full-day field trips in both spring and fall, and we are so grateful for the energy, cheerfulness, and wonder for the natural world that she shares with our VNS students. Thank you, Rebecca!
Volunteer of the Month: Ann Stevenson
Ann has been volunteering at MNHC since the spring of 2009. She jumped right in and has been involved in a number of different programs–Saturday Kids’ Activities, VNS classroom visits and field trips, tabling at various events, and, most recently, our annual banquet and auction, to which she gave a great deal of time and energy. We are so grateful for Ann’s generous giving of her time, as well as her enthusiasm, commitment, and smiling presence in all she does. Thank you, Ann!
Volunteer of the Month: Tom Roy
Tom has been volunteering with MNHC since the spring of 2009, when he and his wife, Sue, completed the Montana Master Naturalist Course. In the past year and a half, Tom has been an integral part of our VNS program, assisting in several different schools, both inside the classroom and outdoors on field trips. Tom has also tabled at Osprey games, helped inventory our Traveling Trunks, and provided valuable feedback on the VNS curriculum. We are so grateful for the many years of environmental education experience he brings to us–not to mention his energy, sense of humor, and great stories. Thank you, Tom!
Volunteer of the Month: Sara Mintz
Sara has been volunteering with MNHC since the spring of 2009, when she completed the Montana Master Naturalist Course. She jumped right in and, despite being busy with school, she has found the time to volunteer in a number of different ways: participating in our VNS program, helping with set up at our Evening Lecture series, tabling at Osprey games, and assisting with our Annual Banquet & Auction preparations. We so appreciate her willingness to help out with so many of our programs. Thank you, Sara!July 2010:
Volunteer of the Month: Vicki Cox
Vicki is one of our new Master Naturalist volunteers. She successfully completed the course this spring, and has already been an active volunteer at MNHC these past couple of months, assisting with everything from our May VNS field trips to our spring after-school program to teaching insect and osprey lessons to large groups of 1st graders during Center Visits. She’s been willing to jump in and help out even at the last minute, and we so appreciate her knowledge, energy, and infectious enthusiasm. Thank you, Vicki!
Volunteers of the Month: Mackenzie Flahive-Foro and Michael Krug, MNHC Interns
This month we would like to honor this year’s interns, Mackenzie and Mike. They have been with us since last fall, and have done everything from leading field trip stations to developing curriculum, creating seasonal displays for the Kids’ Discovery Room, assisting with VNS classroom visits, organizing files, running kids’ activities, tabling at events, and, in general, helping out wherever (and whenever) they are needed. We so appreciate the time and effort they have given to MNHC! Mackenzie just graduated from UM with a degree in Recreation Management, and is currently doing seasonal work with the Forest Service. Mike has completed his first year as a Master’s student in the Environmental Studies Program, and will be working in Glacier National Park this summer. Thank you, Mike and Mackenzie!
Volunteers of the Month: Montana Conservation Corps Crew Leaders
This spring we have had the privilege of collaborating with a great group of MCC folks: Chris Miller-McLemore, Martha Knox, Jesse Bergeson, Harry Stone, and Val Hingston. These five crew leaders have been volunteering with us for the past month, doing everything from helping in our VNS classrooms to running after-school programs and assisting with our fire ecology and VNS field trips. And when one of our staff was injured this past month, the MCC crew jumped in to lead programs and fill the gap. This month they’ll continue their involvement by leading stations on our VNS field trips, helping our students end the school year with a great day in the outdoors. Thank you, Chris, Martha, Jesse, Harry, and Val!
Volunteer of the Month: Lance Schelvan
Lance Schelvan is a recent addition to the MNHC Board, and has jumped right in with his innovative ideas, vitalizing visions, and helping hands. A talented photographer and writer, he has donated some beautiful photographs for us to use as signs and in our exhibit area. He also takes pictures of our programs—summer camps, kids’ activities, VNS field trips—for us to use in our flyers, brochures, and on our website. He is working with staff and board members to create a new “look” for MNHC, both indoors and outdoors—stay tuned for future changes! We so appreciate Lance’s vision, enthusiasm, and willingness to get involved and get things done! Thank you, Lance!
Volunteer of the Month: Carolyn Hart
Carolyn has been volunteering for MNHC for more than a year, and has given her time in many ways, from leading stations at the Watershed Festival to helping out with our VNS field trips. She has been dedicated to volunteering with our VNS program, assisting in five classrooms in the Arlee, Hellgate, and Florence elementary schools every month this school year. We love seeing Carolyn at every VNS volunteer training, and we’re grateful for her constant willingness to help out in even more classrooms if needed. We so appreciate her involvement at MNHC. Thank you, Carolyn!
Volunteer of the Month: Sue Roy
Sue Roy is involved with MNHC on numerous levels, and we appreciate every one! She has been a dedicated board member since March 2006, and last spring she and her husband Tom participated in the Montana Master Naturalist Course to become certified Master Naturalists. This past fall, Sue jumped in to help with the VNS program. It’s exciting when our board members get to see first-hand how our programs are run! Sue led stations on several of our October field trips, going as far afield as the Schroeder Ranch and the Bison Range, and has also devoted her time to 3-5 classroom visits each month. She’s been willing to fill in when we need extra help, and we’ve so enjoyed seeing her cheerful smile and enthusiasm at trainings, in the classroom, and out in the field. Thank you, Sue!
Volunteer of the Month: Minie Smith
Minie Smith, MNHC’s volunteer librarian, has been a behind-the-scenes yet integral part of MNHC for many years. Since the inception of the Ralph Lee Allen Educational Library, she has been tackling its organization, stocking, and updating, spending countless hours working quietly and faithfully on this growing resource. She loves the natural world, and loves helping others learn more about it and enjoy it. Minie has spent valuable time over the years incorporating donated collections into our library, constantly adding depth and variety to the resources available to staff, members, and volunteers. MNHC uses resources from the library for summer camps, in developing curriculum, and for research, and we so appreciate Minie’s years with us as Volunteer Librarian. Thank you, Minie!
Volunteer of the Month: Valerie Bayer
Valerie first got involved with MNHC by taking the Master Naturalist class this past spring, and has been helping out with various programs ever since. Master Naturalists have to volunteer 40 hours/year to keep their certification; Valerie has already given more than 80 hours of her time. She spent several summer evenings tabling at Osprey games and other special events. This fall, Valerie has been very much involved with our Visiting Naturalist Program, leading stations on several of our October field trips and assisting with monthly classroom visits in Alberton, St. Ignatius, and Missoula. She is always willing to step in and give of her time to MNHC, and we are so very grateful. Thank you, Valerie!
Volunteer of the Month: Rod Snyder
Rod Snyder has been volunteering with our Visiting Naturalist in the Schools Program for more than three years. A retired science teacher, he is now owner of the Subway in the Southgate Mall, and still finds time to dedicate himself to teaching budding naturalists about the natural world. In the past he has faithfully assisted our staff in classrooms in the Hawthorne, Sussex, Franklin, and Potomac schools. This year he is assisting our staff naturalists even more by taking over the teaching in two of our VNS classrooms, as well as giving generously of his time on several of our October field trips. He’s even recruited his son Nathaniel to help out with VNS! But he doesn’t only give of his time and teaching talents—he also occasionally donates Subway sandwiches for MNHC events, and this, too, we very much appreciate. Thank you, Rod!
Volunteer of the Month: Mindy Goldberg
Mindy has served on the MNHC board for several years and is currently the Board Secretary. She worked tirelessly on the preparations for our 2009 Annual Banquet and Auction—soliciting donations, organizing auction items, amassing volunteers, and even delving into her closet to provide stylish black dresses for the MNHC staff ladies to wear. J This past month we’ve been privileged to see her wonderful smile and hear her cheerful voice nearly every day! She has also assisted in the production of an MNHC promotional video, attended VNS training sessions as preparation for helping out in 4th-grade classrooms, and generously allowed our VNS program to run field trips on her property. For all this and so much more we are deeply grateful. Thank you, Mindy!
Volunteer of the Month: Christine Wren
Christine is one of MNHC’s most active volunteers, and we are so grateful for the experience and enthusiasm this retired teacher brings to us! For the past year and a half, she has been a lead VNS instructor for two classrooms at Lolo Elementary. She helped MNHC Naturalist Brian Williams to improve and design the VNS curriculum, including creating kid-friendly bird field guides. Besides her dedicated involvement in the classroom, she also gives very generously of her time to VNS field trips, the Watershed Festival, Field Notes and tabling for special events. Thank you, Christine!
Volunteer of the Month: Joel Shechter
Joel began volunteering with us this spring, assisting our Visiting Naturalist in the Schools program. This summer, he has been donating his time and video-producing skills to film our summer camps, working with board member Mindy Goldberg to create a promotional video for our youth programs. We so appreciate his energy and flexibility, as well as his commitment to MNHC and to our greater cause—getting kids outdoors! Thank you, Joel!
Volunteer of the Month: Gary Graham
Gary is one of our Visiting Naturalist field trip instructors, and he has given many hours to our VNS field trips in the springs of 2008 and 2009. This past May, he led stations on 10 of our field trips, teaching hundreds of children about the natural world. His boundless enthusiasm and willingness to teach kids in all kinds of weather make him an invaluable member of our volunteer corps, and he is well loved by all the children with whom he shares his delight for the natural world. Thank you, Gary!
Volunteer of the Month: Lane Reul
Lane has been volunteering for MNHC since 2005. He does great work constructing and maintaining our exhibits—and many other ‘handyman’ tasks that we need done. He is always looking for new ways to use his creativity and woodworking talents for MNHC, and we so appreciate him giving his time and energy to make MNHC an even better place. Thank you, Lane!