About a dozen volunteers were honored at the Hawaii Wildlife Center annual volunteer appreciation day luncheon on Dec. 28 at the center.
“We are so proud and honored to have so many community members and visitors volunteer their time and expertise to help Hawaii Wildlife Center with of the care and conservation of Hawaii’s native wildlife,” said Linda Elliott, president and center director. “Volunteers are critical to our year-around operations and we truly enjoy their dedication and friendship.”
This past year, volunteer work included: maintaining the HWC facility and grounds, educating the community on the HWC mission and work, rescuing and transporting sick and injured birds statewide, providing care for wildlife patients, and preparing for wildlife emergency response situations.
“I volunteer at HWC because I know that I will help the birds of Hawaii,” said Alexandra Ruff, the center’s youngest volunteer. “My favorite part of volunteering at HWC is seeing everyone at the Center, Jojo, Linda and everyone else.”
Volunteers benefit from helping at HWC by gaining professional training and experience, being able to help Hawaii’s native species, and being able to give back to the community.
“I started when I brought someone I volunteer with, and then I could not leave,” said Silvia Castioni. “We come here once a week and mostly we maintain the gardens, weeding, trimming, etc. I love working with the plants and seeing the gardens thrive and look great. It’s very rewarding. I have learned a lot from everyone here. It’s great to know how they care about helping and protecting native birds and how they are educating people around the whole state. “
According to Jojo Genovia, program manager, more volunteering opportunities will soon be available.
“We are always accepting applications, and will soon be offering new positions for docents, and retail help in our gift shop,” said Genovia. “I’m really looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends, as our volunteer ohana grows.
To become an HWC volunteer, visit their website at http://www.hawaiiwildlifecenter.org/volunteer.html. The volunteer application form can also be found and downloaded from that page.