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Bird Themed Volunteer Recognition Dinner
Midwest Region, October 9, 2012
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Volunteers gather for dinner.
Volunteers gather for dinner. - Photo Credit: Jan Barrett
Seney Players perform
Seney Players perform "She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head". Left: Sara Giles, Visitor Services Manager (Harriet). Center: Greg McClellan, Assistant Manager (Augustus). Right: Mark Vaniman, Project Leader (Minna). - Photo Credit: Jan Barrett
Jennifer McDonough - Volunteer Coordinator and MC talks to the gathered volunteers about their good works.
Jennifer McDonough - Volunteer Coordinator and MC talks to the gathered volunteers about their good works. - Photo Credit: Jan Barrett
Shirley Harkness the 2012 Volunteer of the Year is seen here with Jennifer McDonough, Sara Giles and Mark Vaniman.
Shirley Harkness the 2012 Volunteer of the Year is seen here with Jennifer McDonough, Sara Giles and Mark Vaniman. - Photo Credit: Jan Barrett
Volunteer checklist cover.
Volunteer checklist cover. - Photo Credit: Sara Giles/USFWS
Volunteer checklist interior.
Volunteer checklist interior. - Photo Credit: Sara Giles/USFWS

Tuesday night October 9, 2012 the Seney National Wildlife Refuge staff held the Annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner. The dinner honored the 63 volunteers who contributed 5,510 hours for an average of 87 hours of work per volunteer in 2012. That equals about 2.6 fulltime staff members and $93,670 of labor (calculated at the USFWS standard of $17 per hour). Seney volunteers assist visitor services, applied sciences, fire, maintenance and the administrative programs. They are very dedicated and work as advocates for the refuge not only while at the refuge but in also in their daily lives. They are a vital part of all of we do at the Seney Refuge.

Each year the staff comes up with a theme for the dinner. This year’s theme focused on migratory birds. For inspiration, staff turned to the children’s book “She’s Wearing a Dead Bird on her Head” by Kathryn Lasky. Staff members created bird hats and performed a skit reenacting the children’s story, much to the delight of the crowd. The bird hats were not only used during the skit but also provided centerpieces for the dinner tables and placemats listing actions and laws pertaining to the history of bird protection were created. A volunteer checklist was made in the style of the National Wildlife Refuge checklists and used to recognize each individual volunteer. Fun bird facts were given to each volunteer and the volunteer gifts included the “Crossly ID Guide to Eastern Birds” or gift certificates to the friends bookstore. The dinner catered by “Chamberlin’s Ole Forest Inn” consisted of house salad, bread, chicken Florentine, pork medallions with mushroom sauce, maple glazed carrots, roasted red potatoes, and chocolate cake.

Shirley Harkness, a 12 year veteran of volunteering, received the “Volunteer of the Year” honor for her years of dedication to the refuge and her steadfast, consistent, loyal and reliable service.  Harkness is a front desk volunteer and has touched the lives of thousands of refuge visitors, staff members and volunteers. She has volunteered one day a week since 2001 missing very few weeks and picking up additional shifts when we need her.

Regional awards were given out to Howard Yost, and Jo and John Kleis for 500 hours of service, Becky Pritchard and Dan Phillips for 1,000 hours of service and Dee Phinney for 5,000 hours of service.

The Volunteer Recognition Dinner is a great way to honor our volunteers and all their hard work. We thank them for their dedication.


Contact Info: Sara Giles, (906) 586-9851 x10, Sara_Giles@fws.gov



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