— CAMN (@CapAreaMN) March 4, 2016
I was in the CAMN Class of 2009, just 6 short years ago. I quickly jumped into volunteer work and came to know and work with many outstanding naturalist organizations and people. The wonderful staff at the Austin Wildlands BCP/WQPL division. The dedicated trail builders with Central Texas Trail Tamers. Citizen volunteers at Travis Audubon, Wildflower Center, Hornsby Bend. CAMN has been my gateway to exploring David Bamberger’s Selah Ranch, learning grass ID with Bill Carr at the Shield Ranch, monitoring Golden-cheeked Warblers in west Travis County, working on the Violet Crown Trail. And on and on I could go.
Two years ago I realized many of these opportunities were available to me partly due to the hard-working people on the CAMN Board. I decided I wanted to step up and help out. I contacted the President, attended a Board meeting as a guest, and found myself volunteering to organize field trips. It was that easy.
The last two years on the Board has been a lot of fun. I have met many friendly people, seen dedicated leadership, had the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to CAMN’s success. Never left to sink or swim, CAMN is flush with experienced members, including former leaders, always ready to help a new Board member be successful. I would like to encourage any CAMN member to consider joining the CAMN board and help us continue to flourish.
Think of all the positives! Great snacks at Board meetings. Enjoy Harry Miller’s stories. Meaningful public service for your resume (not joking — buff it up at CAMN). Contact the Nominating Committee – Marc Opperman (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mark Wilson (email@example.com) and let us know how you want to help out.
After completing my training in 2002 I joined the volunteer hour approval committee to learn more about the process. During 2004 I assisted with the curriculum committee, the committee chair person relocated to another city and I was asked to fill those shoes. Having no clue about how to handle this responsibility I blindly took charge, selected chairs for unfilled spots and marched forward.
We had a great year of training, then in 2005 I was asked to do a repeat performance. With that experience I was able to guide an enhanced group of training leaders and we had a wonderful year of training. This lead to filling the President’s position in 2006.
Baptism by fire sometimes works wonders. I had no experience for these positions but had some wonderful mentors and great trainers from which to choose. All of those people gave me the inspiration to become totally immersed in the natural world and have never looked back.
I have been inspired by great teachers, by people who give willingly of their time and talents, by opening a new world to those who just need a little nudging to seek out the wonders of the natural world. My life has been greatly enriched through my association with the Master Naturalist program and I cannot imagine my life without those contacts I have made and nurtured.
Only through volunteering and offering what knowledge I have has it been possible for me to grow into the person I am today. I would not trade those experiences for anything and I would like to encourage any of you who can consider taking a position on the board to do so. I can tell you from experience that you will gain three fold over what you will give!