Giving thanks for our volunteers

During this Thanksgiving week, we want to express our thanks to volunteers Bill Krasean and Joelyn de Lima who offer helpful hands—and many hours—to our KBS LTER community.

Krasean has been volunteering at the KBS LTER for over one year.

Bill Krasean, KBS LTER volunteer.

Bill Krasean, KBS LTER volunteer.

“I started out volunteering at the KBS Bird Sanctuary,” said Krasean. “Then I found out the KBS LTER could use someone with experience in photography and writing, so I switched.”

After working for the Kalamazoo Gazette as a reporter for almost 35 years, he retired in 2005. With an interest in scientific nature and natural history, along with a degree from Michigan State University, Krasean embraced the opportunity to return to his Spartan roots and work at KBS. He appreciates the opportunity to help out the program while having the chance to shoot photography and continue writing.

“On my first day, they had a group giving a scientific tour of Gull Lake and I was in charge of taking pictures of researchers taking water samples,” said Krasean. “We rode on pontoon boats in 75 degree weather without a cloud in the sky. Doing what I like to do in the middle of Gull Lake in the summer time…it was rewarding.”

Krasean’s stories span the gamut of KBS LTER activities: CO2 flux towers to K-12 schoolyard plots to the creation of new research tools. They are highlighted on the KBS LTER website, the national LTER Network newsletter, and in the Kalamazoo Gazette.

“The KBS LTER has wonderful people, and I couldn’t be happier working with them,” said Krasean.

Besides his work at the KBS LTER, Krasean volunteers at the Kalamazoo Nature Center, where he shoots photography. Krasean also works with Senior Services, Inc.’s RSVP program, which coordinates people 55 or older in volunteer services with up to 90 different organizations in Kalamazoo County.

Like Krasean, de Lima, who has been volunteering at the KBS LTER since June 2012, has a passion for hard-work and intellectual stimulation. From India, and at KBS while her husband finishes his Ph.D research, de Lima is not legally permitted to study or work in the United States. Upon arriving, she was in search of a constructive venture. Volunteering with the KBS LTER was just the fit.

Joelyn de Lima, KBS LTER volunteer.

Joelyn de Lima, KBS LTER volunteer.

“The selling point was that I would be dealing with science education, which is something I have been trained to do,” said de Lima.

de Lima has a Bachelor’s degree in education and a Master’s degree in marine science, along with three years of teaching experience under her belt.

“I have also been really missing the kids I used to teach back home, and this is a great way for me to interact with kids here,” said de Lima.

de Lima coordinates and facilitates elementary classes visiting the KBS LTER Agriculture and Ecology Student Activity Trail, ensuring “that they get the most out of the experience.” de Lima edits materials for the Activity Trail and helps coordinate logistics to make sure everything goes smoothly.

“The KBS LTER is professional development for me,” said de Lima. “I want to go back to school eventually and this sort of experience is invaluable.”

de Lima is considering studying further to pursue a career in science education outreach, and her volunteer work at KBS LTER is “bound to come handy.”

This past spring de Lima completed 1,000 volunteer hours with KBS. In addition to the LTER program, she is also active with the KBS Pasture Dairy Farm, Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, the Kellogg Manor House and the KBS K-12 Partnership program. She has also helped coordinate the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program and does administrative work whenever necessary.

“I think I have my fingers in all of the KBS pies!” said de Lima.

Besides KBS, de Lima also volunteers at St. Thomas Parish, where she helps with clerical duties.

We are also excited to welcome and thank a new cohort of KBS LTER volunteers who joined our team this spring. Working with de Lima and staff at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, this intrepid group leads student groups through the Agriculture and Ecology Student Activity Trail. We appreciate the many hours of training and guiding they have done!