To wrap up National Volunteer Week, we have a re-cap of our volunteer profiles that we posted this week. A big thank you to each and every one of the OWCN’s volunteers – we can’t do this without you!
Mary Pierce has been volunteering with International Bird Rescue since 2007 and in avian wildlife rehabilitation for 16 years. She also volunteers at Native Songbird Care & Conservation.
When asked about the best part of volunteering, Mary says, “having the opportunity to help all of the beautiful and amazing birds that come into care. It is very rewarding to be able to give them a second chance at life and freedom. It never ceases to amaze me how each species as well as each individual is so vastly different and unique”.
And on oil spill response, Mary says, “Oil spill response is a difficult and heart wrenching job. It can also be extremely fulfilling and rewarding. I feel that as human beings, it is our responsibility to do all we can to mitigate the effects of our negative environmental impacts. California is very lucky to have an organization like the OWCN and I am proud to be a part of it”.
When not working with birds, Mary enjoys working with stained glass and has recently been obsessed with finding and trying all sorts of bird related crafts, and is working on transforming her yard with native plants.
Andrea Muenter has volunteered with Pacific Wildlife Care since 1999, and with OWCN since 2003. She first helped respond to an oil spill in 2005 for the Ventura Oiled Bird Incident.
Her favorite thing about volunteering is making a difference and giving these animals another chance. When asked about her thoughts on oiled wildlife response, she says, “Wild and free is what these animals are all about. Taking that away from them by damaging their lives and habitat is something that hits me very hard. Oiled wildlife response is so important to me because it allows me to fix the wrong and get these animals back to what they were meant to be… wild and free”.
Andrea’s favorite animal is a tiger, and when asked to share a fun fact about herself, she says, “Aside from the wildlife, my other passion is playing volleyball. I play beach volleyball at Pismo Beach as often as I can. I am the team manager, organizer and captain of a women’s indoor volleyball team who is now playing in the 55-59 age group. We travel the state and the country to play against women in our age bracket. Six years ago, I traveled to Europe on a Goodwill tour and played volleyball against Italian, French and British teams. I really love the sport!”.
Dani Nicholson volunteers at Pacific Wildlife Care AND The Marine Mammal Center! Dani has been volunteering with OWCN since 2003, and her favorite thing about volunteering is learning skills to help save animals and getting to work with like-minded people.
When asked about her thoughts on oiled wildlife response, she says “I have always taken oiled wildlife response very seriously. I believe that we have a responsibility to care for the animals whose lives have been threatened or endangered by man’s mistakes. I’ve seen many birds first hand who have been pitifully oiled and who, after having been rescued, stabilized and washed, returned to their full selves and who appear whole again. It is an incredible feeling to have contributed to that”.
Dani loves all things in nature and art, recently delving into ceramics, and she loves “making something from the earth which can be beautiful and possibly functional. I lose myself in hand building pottery, allowing myself to relax and to feel the earth between my fingers”.
Dani has two sons and two grandsons, loves swimming in the ocean, and has American Indian in her blood and in her spirit.
Gayle Uyehara volunteers at the California Wildlife Center. Gayle has worked with animals for the last 35 years and has spent the last 13 volunteering with wildlife rehabilitation and OWCN.
Her favorite thing about volunteering is, “Besides the ability to work with and help save wildlife, I love learning and passing what I learn on to others. Meeting and working with like-minded people is a bonus that comes with being part of a good organization”.
Gayle responded in 2005 to the Ventura Oiled Bird Incident and in 2015 for the Refugio Incident. On oiled wildlife response, Gayle says, “The training we receive allows us to adjust both rehab and rescue skills for oiled wildlife response and as long as mankind continues to negatively impact the environment and the animals, we need trained people ready to respond. Why do I feel it is important to respond? It’s the right thing to do”.
As many of you know, Gayle is very passionate about her family, as well as animals and art. You’ve probably seen many photos that Gayle has taken, grace the pages of the OWCN blog, and I’ve had the privilege of seeing many of her beautiful drawings. Her favorite animal? She loves them all, but is partial to birds.
Nancy Mix is a volunteer at The Marine Mammal Center. Nancy has been volunteering for most of her adult life and has focused on wildlife the past 14 years. While she volunteers with animals first, of equal importance is working with other volunteers, of which she has made many friends over the years.
When asked about oil spill response, Nancy says “Responding to oiled wildlife events is a must. Essentially what we’re doing is trying to minimize someone else’s damage to our wildlife and the environment. From the first phone call your every action is to try and save as many animals as possible from harm”.
I asked Nancy to share something interesting about herself, and she said “Not many people know I own a race horse. She raced for many years and is now retired. I chuckle when I think of how to identify myself. Wife, mother, grandmother, rehabber and a member of The Jockey Club”.