October 15, 2019 —By Resident Jim Erickson —
We moved into our cottage at Kendal in Granville in September 2007 from the north side of Cook County in the Chicago area. While living in Illinois, I had volunteered for many years at the Chicago Academy of Science at their Peggy Notebaert Museum as a naturalist and an animal handler. Also, I volunteered through the Chicago Botanic Garden as a rare plant monitor and as a dragonfly monitor with the local Forest Preserve District. I wanted to renew these kinds of volunteer experiences in Ohio.
I quickly found opportunities at my new home. After moving to Licking County, I became a butterfly monitor at Dawes Arboretum and a docent at The Works. (For those unfamiliar with these institutions, the Dawes Arboretum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and The Works is a fine museum for art, history and science in nearby Newark, offering wide opportunities for hands-on learning.)
Butterfly monitoring, which is done once a week, involves counting, on one of two transepts, both the number of species and the total number of butterflies sighted from April first to the end of October. Because the vagaries of weather can force schedule changes, I need to be available five days a week, if possible.
My current job at The Works is in the Industrial History area, on the second floor. It features exhibits on local Licking County history and industries. I am also the “local” weaver on special occasions.
Both Dawes Arboretum and The Works provide opportunities to volunteer over a wide range of skill levels. They also provide the training necessary to enable volunteers to offer useful service to visitors. Moreover, I’ve found both places to be very welcoming, and as a result have made many new friends over the past 10 years. I continue to get great pleasure from volunteering.