Behind every great team of volunteers is a Volunteer Manager who ensures that their team reaches their full potential. In honour of International Volunteer Managers Day this November 5th, the ROM turns the spotlight on some of the staff who activate our many fun and exciting volunteer programs.
Meet Mark Peck, Ornithology Technician. Mark has been managing volunteers for approximately 15 years now. He currently works with 5 active volunteers, though during the summer field season, that number can swell to as many as 30 volunteers in our field camps.
ROM: What are the top three tasks your volunteers do?
- Assist with collections based research
- Perform data entry and digital image preparation
- Assist with field research
ROM: What is your favourite part about working with volunteers?
MP: Easy! My favourite part is the interaction between myself and the volunteers. They are dedicated individuals interested in the work we are doing in Ornithology, and they are a huge help in completing some of our projects.
In return, I think we provide them with some good experience and learning. My hope is always that the volunteer gets a little more out of it than the ROM does, but it should be close. J
ROM: What has been your biggest challenge in working with volunteers?
MP: Juggling my time and their time to make sure that their efforts are helpful both for them and to the ROM. We could not accomplish what we do without the help of volunteers.
ROM: What is your most memorable experience working with volunteers?
MP: The two most memorable experiences I have had have both involved volunteers and Black Bears. That is probably enough said… I’m surprised that anyone would volunteer with me after they hear these stories.
The great news is that everyone has always made it back safely and the bears left us in peace. No volunteers or bears were ever harmed in these volunteer efforts!
ROM: The theme of Volunteer Manager Day 2015 is “Volunteer Managers are the power behind superhero volunteers.” If you could give your volunteers a superpower, what would it be and why?
MP: It would be the ability for them to choose a challenging and productive career or retirement plan, and to continue doing something that they love and enjoy for the rest of their lives.