Volunteer Spotlight

Zoe McCormick


Exciting news from one of our youth volunteers, Zoe McCormick, who just received her acceptance letter from Cornell University, home of the prestigious Cornell Lab of Ornithology!

Since 2012, Zoe has been volunteering at the Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary where she helps conducts bird surveys and leads monthly bird walks.  Her interest in birds started much earlier, but it flourished during her high school years and led her to us where we were able to provide some opportunities for field experience.

Over the years she identified and counted thousands of waterbirds and shorebirds on Richardson Bay and Aramburu Island's new shoreline.  In addition to field work at the Audubon Center, she took classes at College of Marin and California Academy of Science, banded birds in Yosemite with the Institute for Bird Populations, raised prize-winning chickens with 4H, and became a falconer.

Her passion for birds is broad and deep, and as a recent high school graduate she now has an opportunity to take it to the next stage.  As she wrote in her college essay:  "There is so much for me to learn!  Working with birds is my life's calling."

We offer our heartfelt congratulations to this young birder who is just beginning her career, and we want to sincerely thank her for all she's done for us over the last three years.  We are certain that she will contribute significantly to bird conservation; we just feel lucky to have had a chance to meet her along her path.

-The staff of the Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary, December 2015

Sam Engle

Sam Engel

Sam Engle came to the Richardson Bay Audubon Center to fulfill his community service requirements for his freshman year at Redwood High School in the Spring of 2012.  His community service hours were quickly finished, but 10 hours just wasn't enough for Sam.  He has been coming back to the Audubon Center on a regular basis, always looking for the next restoration project and any excuse to get his hands dirty.

Sam is a true lover of nature and the great outdoors.  He enjoys whatever task we are doing and for Sam, bigger is better.  Sam has helped immensely with almost every project at the Audubon Center this year, whether he is carefully transplanting native plant seedlings or digging and moving dirt while creating our new propagation beds.  Sam's dedication to volunteering at the Center has not gone unrecognized, as he has joined a group of only a handful of people to volunteer on Aramburu Island.  While he has helped with almost every project at the Audubon Center, it's his attitude and outlook that is really extraordinary.

Sam's energy and passion for working at the Audubon Center is truly contagious.  He brings a cheerful and positive disposition to the Center and it's truly a highlight of our week when Sam comes to volunteer.  If all of Sam's generation had his upbeat attitude and enthusiasm for nature, I believe that the future of this world is going to look a lot brighter.  

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