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New Additions to Seattle Audubon's Flock

Seattle Audubon recently added three new employees: A Member Services Assistant and two AmeriCorps Urban Environmental Educators. Below is a way to get to know the newest members of the flock through a fun Q & A.

 

New AmeriCorps Robyn birding in outer coast of WA, Photo Courtesy Robyn Thomas

 

 

Meet Robyn Thomas, AmeriCorps Service Member Urban Environmental Educator 

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

Rafting is probably my favorite thing to do outside. I grew up going on multi-day rafting trips with my family on some really incredible rivers, and it is still one of my favorite ways to get outside. It is a lot of planning and heavy lifting before-hand, but once I’m on the water with family and friends, it’s all totally worth it.

 

Do you have a favorite bird, and why?

This is a tough question because I like most birds that I encounter. If I had to choose one, I suppose it would be the Canyon Wren. I haven’t actually seen many but I really love their call. I spend a lot of time in the desert, so luckily, I get to hear them quite often. And whenever I do hear one, I associate that sound with good memories.

 

What interests led you to working at Seattle Audubon?

Seabirds were an area of focus for me while I was getting my undergraduate degree. Birding started off as a school thing but soon turned into a personal thing. I expanded my interests to all kinds of birds. I find the diversity among birds to be very fascinating, and I think that we have a lot to learn from our feathered friends.

 

What are you most excited about in your role with Seattle Audubon?

I’m excited to get involved with as many things at Seattle Audubon as I can! I’m also excited to have a job with such variety each day and throughout the seasons.

 

Where are you from?

I am from Denver, Colorado. I moved up to the PNW 4 years ago to go to school at the University of Puget Sound and decided to stay!

 

Tell one interesting story (or fact) about yourself that you do not mind sharing. 

I have never had a sense of smell. This is honestly a blessing rather than an inconvenience most of the time in my personal life and in my professional life . . .  especially when I worked on seabird colonies.

 

What do you hope to learn from longtime Seattle Audubon members and volunteers?

I would like to learn about different approaches that volunteers have to get kids excited about protecting birds and their habitats. I think everyone has wonderful ideas, and I would love to hear about them!

On a birding note, I’d like to become more confident in my identification. I consider myself a relatively novice birder, and I still get quite confused in the field with species that have similar field marks (e.g. Downy vs. Hairy Woodpeckers).


Meet Malcolm Griffes, AmeriCorps Service Member Urban Environmental Educator 

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

I have a few favorite activities, and they all revolve around being in the outdoors. Snowboarding in the mountains, bicycling in the lowlands, and rock climbing all over the state.

Do you have a favorite bird, and why?

Subject to change, but as of now, crows. They’re very smart and also have a pretty sleek look.

 

What interests led you to working at Seattle Audubon?

My love of the outdoors. Seattle Audubon’s efforts and achievements in the environmental non-profit realm are impressive and inspiring, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to help in contributing to the organization’s mission.

 

What are you most excited about in your role with Seattle Audubon?

As an AmeriCorps Urban Environment Educator, I am tasked with a variety of roles, and it is an exciting chance to be involved in a plethora of projects and programs. But,above all, I most look forward to my definitive role of running environmental education programs throughout Seattle’s schools. We work with a variety of age groups and birding levels, but having the chance to work with students on birding and environmental topics is kind of a dream job. I remember going on nature walks in Seattle area parks as a kid and being enthralled with all the natural life that surrounds us in our city. I think connecting with nature is an important aspect of a complete life, and birding is a great way to spend time outside. I think connecting students to this facet of life is an important part of any education.

 

Where are you from?

I’m from Seattle, specifically Queen Anne hill. I was born wearing a flannel and by the age of three was drinking espresso! Just kidding. We do live in a unique city, its proximity to nature is unbeatable; you can be in the heart of downtown and in under and hour be on a mountain pass in the Cascades. It’s the bridge between culture and nature that makes Seattle special.

 

Tell one interesting story (or fact) about yourself that you do not mind sharing. 

This summer I solo hiked the Enchantments in a day. I forwent the assistance of a shuttle service that takes you between the starting and ending points of the hike, which tacked on a few extra miles, and may have contributed to the couple of hours I had hiking in complete darkness, albeit for the light of my headlamp. Overall it ended up being one of the best hiking experiences of my life. Surrounded by the jagged peaks of the Stuart Range, innumerable shimmering alpine lakes, and the occasional grazing mountain goat, it is easy to understand why the enchantments is such a coveted destination. This year I will certainly be trying my luck with the lottery system required to secure a multiday hiking pass in the hopes of spending more time in this amazing landscape.

 

What do you hope to learn from longtime Seattle Audubon members and volunteers?

Well, I have already begun learning more about birds and am pretty sure  I will be fairly well versed by the end of the year. From the striking similarities in appearance between a Cooper’s hawk and a Sharp Shinned hawk to the particularities of the pecking order of city chickens, it would truly be hard to not pick up birding facts while being in the office. But beyond birding knowledge, I am looking forward to learning more about the workings of an environmental non-profit.


Meet Anna Dukes, Member Services Assistant 

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

While soccer holds a special place in my heart, as that’s how I met my spouse and where I spend a lot of time with my daughters, my favorite outdoor activity is going for a long walk in a new place.  It gives me time to pause the checklist that rolls in the back of my mind and be intentional about taking in the sights, sounds and smells of where I am and to be present in the moment.

 

Do you have a favorite bird, and why?

I can’t say that I have a favorite, though I enjoy owls and hummingbirds.  Owls - because I identify with their quiet presence; hummingbirds – because, well, Anna’s…  Actually, I’m looking forward to learning more about birds through connecting with the community and staff here at Seattle Audubon.  In my first few weeks, I’ve already been exposed to discussions about the come-back of the Bald Eagle in NE Seattle, the mighty brains of crows, and identifying a Swainson’s Thursh flitting in the bushes outside our offices in Wedgwood.  I think I have a lot to learn, so check back with me in a year.

 

What interests led you to working at Seattle Audubon?

Nature and birds.  I grew up in Seattle and some of my favorite memories are from backpacking trips in my teens.  After moving away from Washington for several years, I came to appreciate the beauty of this place even more.  I was introduced to birds by taking an ornithology class with my boyfriend…they seemed to agree with us because he’s now my husband.

 

What are you most excited about in your role with Seattle Audubon?

Having an opportunity to get to know the volunteers and staff that make Seattle Audubon come to life and bringing my skills to add to this community.

 

Where are you from?

Basically a Seattle native… I moved here when I was 6 years old from upstate New York.

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