Spotlight on Education Volunteers at CNC

Celebrating National Volunteer Week

Volunteers work hard to provide service to the community and help make a difference in society’s many challenges. CNC is especially grateful to our many volunteers who help keep us going all through the year. They do it all by creating programs, assisting visitors, wearing costumes, mailing envelopes, tending to campers, leading hikes, and growing healthy food. During National Volunteer Week, April 17-23, we want to celebrate and honor the volunteers that give their time and talents to CNC! 

In this volunteer spotlight, we would like to focus on our volunteers in the education department. Christie Hill, Naturalist Manager at CNC gave rave reviews for her volunteers, Lauren and Anna.

Read on to find out Christie’s thoughts on her talented volunteers.

Lauren and Anna have been amazing additions to our Education Team this school year! I have continued to be impressed by their innovation and commitment to sustainability. These young environmentalists are not just thinking or talking about these weighty concepts, but their chosen lifestyles make them role models for their peers.

Lauren is thoughtful, determined, and takes on any project with quiet fervor. She has researched many areas of consumerism and choices we could be making in our daily lives. She is up to date on the current best practices in recycling and has given us a game plan for improving our methods.

Anna has her own sandwich-making business to support needy communities. She is passionate about marine ecology, enjoys researching the wildlife here, and builds on her knowledge of sustainability for the earth and oceans.

It has been a pleasure to have their ideas and hopeful spirits here, in sync with the values of the Chattahoochee Nature Center.

Anna and Lauren have found their experiences as volunteers to be valuable and rewarding.

Find out how Lauren described her experience as a volunteer.  

Spending every summer for the past decade at Camp Barney Medintz, an outdoor sleepaway camp in Cleveland, GA, provided me with many positive memories of nature. Free of phones and air conditioning, each summer I embarked on many adventures through the mountains – from creek hikes to a three-day hiking trip through the first stretch of the Appalachian trail to spending a full twenty-four hours alone on a campsite. These solidified my love of the outdoors. When I was thirteen, I had a counselor who came to every meal equipped with a metal bowl and cutlery, and she spent that entire summer spreading her passion for sustainability. Slowly but surely, the respect I had for her ignited my passion for the environment. I started to love nature not only for my memories of it but also for its tranquility and the safety it provided from the often-loud world; I started to question the overconsumption I had committed and the glutenous culture I had perpetuated; most importantly, I started a journey to save the environment, one small step at a time. Now, I am a senior in high school aspiring to further this mission through a career in Environmental Policy.

The logical first step for me was interning at CNC, so I could witness an organization that gets people to care about the environment. Interning at CNC has been my first time in a formal workplace, and I could not imagine a better first experience. I have experienced the workplace culture firsthand, introducing me to the inclusive, nature-focused environment the staff and volunteers create. I have learned about and interacted with the animals, plants, and ecosystems at CNC, while also exploring broader environmental concerns, like plastics, recycling, and pollution. Beyond this, I now understand the myriad of paths that brought the staff members and volunteers to CNC, their similar passions for the environment and educating others about it, and a variety of professional and life skills. This internship, which started as a method for cultivating my sustainability passion in a real-world setting, has equipped me with new knowledge and values that I know I will carry into my future pursuits. I am so grateful for the well-informed, kind people with whom I have had the privilege of interacting, and I cannot wait to learn even more throughout the rest of my internship.

Now we will learn more about Anna and what led her to become a volunteer here. 

As a senior at North Springs High School, I am involved in the National Honors Society, National Spanish Honors Society, the Talented and Gifted program, the Environmental Awareness Club, and I am the president of the Sandwich Club. The Sandwich Club is an extension of the nonprofit The Sandwich Project in which people from the metro Atlanta area make sandwiches for those in need of hearty meals. I also enjoy being on the varsity swim and tennis team! All my life, I have been so interested in the natural world, and in recent years I have become interested in the concept of conservation and sustainability. The Chattahoochee Nature has been the perfect environment for me to explore my interests while also helping out with the nonprofit and giving back to the community! I get to learn about the different animals that we rehabilitate, work on programs for the scouts to learn about sustainability, and overall just be surrounded by people who focus on our local environment! It has been the best experience and I plan to continue learning about these topics at the University Of Georgia next year while I major in Environmental Economics and Management! 

Thank you Lauren and Anna for giving so much to CNC and we cannot wait to celebrate your successes in life!

If you are interested in becoming a CNC volunteer, please visit our website and complete a volunteer application.