Twin Pines Conservation Education Center is the only rural interpretive center in the state. A small facility with only three full-time and one part-time staff and school groups ranging from a few dozen to 455, the programs rely heavily on volunteers. Opening in January 2008, some of the volunteers have been on board since the beginning, week in and week out. Some work diligently on special projects, keep up the website, create fliers, greet visitors and, of course, take kids out in nature hiking, fishing and enjoying the outdoors.
On Tuesday, April 5, eight volunteers were recognized for their outstanding service at Twin Pines to conservation education. Valeria Adams has been a volunteer at the front desk since Twin Pines opened and has given programs on recycling and conserving our resources. Paul Gilgen is our woodworker and birdhouse expert and does fishing pole maintenance. In March alone he spent more than 35 hours just in preparing kits for scouts to make birdhouses from recycled materials. Doug and Denise Harris help out with our monthly programs. Last month they helped educate more than 200 kids on elk, robins and frogs. Jim and Linda Strauch help out with kids' programs, repairs on the facility, landscaping and working at the information desk. Linda also helps out with the ladies' craft group. Lee and Linda Branum work the information desk each Friday and any other time as needed for special events, all the while keeping their hands busy cutting materials for programs.
All of the 60-plus volunteers at Twin Pines have special skills they share with the public. Some come each week. Other volunteers work only at special events or workshops, but all of them care about conserving our natural resources. We couldn’t make it without the hard work of these volunteers who contributed more than 6,700 hours last year alone! We get by on a lot help from our conservation friends. For more information on volunteering at Twin Pines Conservation Education Center, call 573-325-1381.