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Happy Volunteer Week!

We’re so lucky to have a fantastic group of volunteers at CuriOdyssey. From the Aviary Aides who keep our aviary squeaky clean, to the docents and Interpretive Guides who share their knowledge and connect children with animals, we’re so thankful for all they do.

In honor of National Volunteer Week (April 6-12, 2014), we’re profiling just a few of our amazing volunteers and giving them a chance to share their experiences. We want to shout it from the rooftops — we love all of our volunteers (and that’s everyday, not just this week!). We just couldn’t do it with out them!


Gwynnie, TWIG team (with Johanne)
Volunteer since 2010

How did you first get involved volunteering here?
I remember going to the museum when I was a kid with my mom and older brother when they were [Interpretive Guides], and I would walk around with them when they were volunteering and usually just be near them and observe, or pet an Animal Ambassador if they had one out. I counted the years till I was old enough to be a TWIG myself with my mom.

What do you enjoy about volunteering at CuriOdyssey?
I love bringing out Animal Ambassadors for visitors to meet and telling visitors things they may not have already known about the animal. Having [the visitors] see the animals up-close is great.

Do you have a favorite animal or exhibit?
I’d have to pick Tesla the American Kestrel as my favorite Animal Ambassador. She’s always so happy when she’s out meeting the public, and she has a great personality.


Johanne, TWIG team (with Gwynnie)
Volunteer since 2003

How did you first get involved volunteering here?
My now 25-year-old son was always interested in science and nature, and he learned about the volunteer opportunities for teens at (the then named) Coyote Point Museum and wanted to become a TWIG (The Weekend Interpretive Guide). I wanted to encourage his passion, so I became his parent volunteer partner. I enjoyed being a volunteer with my son, and now I am lucky enough to also be my daughter’s volunteer partner.

Do you have a favorite experience to share?
My favorite thing about volunteering is when you see a huge smile on a guest’s face and you know that you helped put it there. This usually happens when we are showing an animal and the guest (child or adult) gets an up-close look at the animal they either love or have never before had a chance to see an animal so closely. When CuriOdyssey is very busy it’s always nice to positively impact the visit of many guests, but when the museum is less crowded you have the luxury of spending more time with a guest. Those longer moments you share with a guest often seem to make more of a difference to their knowledge, appreciation and delight of the animal or exhibit you are talking about.

Has volunteering at CuriOdyssey impacted you in any way?
Teens often spend less time with their parents as they get older, and I greatly appreciate the extra closeness my teen kids and I experienced being volunteers together. It is wonderful sharing a common interest of science, nature and animals and then getting to train and learn together in our shared interest. This shared closeness spills out into our life outside of CuriOdyssey, and it still has a positive impact on my relationship with my adult son (who is 25, a college graduate living in New Zealand). Also, if it wasn’t for volunteering at CuriOdyssey, I most likely would never have held a bird, snake, rat or any of the other animals I have worked with. It’s really hard to believe this considering that I quickly became a wildlife aide and eventually a relief keeper.


Dave, Aviary Aide
Volunteer since 2012

What do you enjoy about volunteering at CuriOdyssey?
The tranquillity of the aviary and having that be the start to my morning.

What’s most surpring thing you’ve experienced while volunteering?
Once I saw the two mergansers that used to live in the aviary chase John the Great Blue Heron. They were both running right at him! Usually John is the one who chases other birds, but this time John got spooked and ran.

Do you have a favorite animal or exhibitl?
The roadrunners. When I arrive, they come up to meet me at the gate, and I give them my best roadrunner “clack.” Then they know it’s worm time! Sometimes they’ll sit on a bench next to me and just hang out.

Thanks again to all of our amazing volunteers! If you’d like to learn more about volunteer opportunities at CuriOdyssey you can read more about them, here.

Join the CuriOdyssey Community


1651 Coyote Point Drive
San Mateo, CA 94401
Ohlone Land Acknowledgement
[email protected]

CuriOdyssey is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Tax ID 94-1262434

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The gold standard for animal care and welfare.
ASTC Member. Association of Science and Technology Centers.
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