This week I am proud to introduce two of our volunteers that are helping this fall at the overlook. Below is a photo of new volunteer, Jeff Rongitsch, and returning volunteer, Samiha Dib. They had just come back from picking up a Merlin at our banding station. This is just one of the many duties that the volunteers have at the main overlook.
Jeff is a new volunteer that has started helping us out just a couple days ago. Jeff went to school at UMD for a degree in general biology and came to Hawk Ridge often while he attended school. Since then he has traveled quite a bit and has been working seasonal naturalist jobs. He just returned to Minnesota for a short time after working in northern Colorado at State Forest State Park. Jeff will continue to travel to Central America after he is done volunteering at Hawk Ridge. There, he hopes to surf and scuba dive, as well as try to find some volunteer naturalist or research opportunities. Come winter time, Jeff will be back in Colorado working as a snowboard instructor. Jeff found interest in volunteering at Hawk Ridge because of his background in biology and naturalist work that he has done. In the last couple days of volunteering, he has learned the duties quite quickly. We are happy to have him on our team and hope he will be back next year as he travels through seasonal employment and volunteer opportunities.
Samiha Dib also has a very interesting story behind her volunteer work at Hawk Ridge. Samiha is a returning volunteer and has put in time at Hawk Ridge for 6 seasons. She volunteered her first season with her mother, Deborah, and brother, when she was only 7 years old. As she grew up, she moved between Minnesota and the UAE. So, when her family was away from Minnesota they took a break from volunteering, but have been consistently volunteering for the last few seasons in a row. Samiha is now taking classes as a PSEO student at UMD. She has an interest in astronomy and spends time at the planetarium, as well as, a passion for theater and arts. When she is volunteering at Hawk Ridge, she likes everything about it and especially likes watching the raptors and the visitors. She likes to chat with visitors to find out who they are, why they are coming to Hawk Ridge and where they come from. She finds it very interesting when she meets people from other countries. Samiha is a great asset to Hawk Ridge. We really appreciate having people around who are invested in the organization and give their 100% every season.
Whether our volunteers are new and have only a short time with us, or if they have been around many seasons, they all have very interesting lives and background. They are great people to meet and we appreciate every minute of time that they take out of their lives to spend up at Hawk Ridge in helping make the season's research and education possible.
Many thanks to Jeff and Samiha!