Hello again! As week 3 wraps up, I believe I have met just about every regular staff or volunteer here, seen all of the nooks and crannies of the building, and even can recognize the daily attendees at the bird feeder outside my office window. I am thankful that “settling in” here does not feel heavy, mundane, or quite like settling at all. Settling in here means that I now feel confident to give guests a tour of the building, answer the phone in my office, and build strong relationships with my coworkers. I really love the people that I work with, they are “big picture” type of people who also are incredibly talented at fine tuning details. The educators that put on camps and programs for children make it look so seamless. The pictures I take of their games and crafts fail to capture the hours of work that go into ensuring that the kids have a blast while learning about nature. The staff at the Audubon Center also do a wonderful job of giving the kids time and space to reflect on the sights and smells of nature, as can see below.
On Thursday, we had a “Summer Solstice Shindig” to and celebrated the longest day of the year with free yoga, scavenger hunts, crafts, and s’mores. After hours of setup and preparation, the first hour passed and two people came in. We were a bit disheartened but within the next few hours, we had around twelve people enjoying the crafts and learning about the Summer Solstice. I am thankful that the staff here did not see the event as a failure because the numbers were not as expected. Instead, they recognized that the families that did come stayed the rest of the night and were incredibly engaged throughout. I learned a valuable lesson that success is not always quantitative, but found in the quality of programming and intentionality of the staff and volunteers.
The night ended with the ceremonial changing of the birds. The summer bird, the Baltimore Oriole, is now proudly displayed above the front desk!
The Grange Insurance Audubon Center has been a wonderful place to settle into and truly invest my time and talents to helping spread the word about Columbus’ backyard!
I look forward to meeting with the other fellows next week to hear all about what they have been up to at their sites.
Peace and trees,