CBEC Increases Capacity by Investing More in Volunteer Programs

With 500 acres of  wildlands to manage, 8,000 students representing a diverse demographic to educate annually, 5,000 outdoor enthusiasts to provide recreational experiences for, and 7 captive Birds of Prey to take care of AND only 5 staff members to facilitate this large and multifaceted mission…it’s no wonder CBEC needs to rely on our “Village of Volunteers” to aid us!

Historically, CBEC has had a “volunteer” coordinate the efforts of a group of volunteers dedicated to serving for the environment on behalf of CBEC. Over the years, this task proved challenging as the groups of individuals wanting to help at CBEC ebbed and flowed like the tide that floods our driveway, making it difficult for the Volunteer Coordinator to produce accurate and effective communication, database building, and valuable appreciation efforts over the course of many years. As a volunteer, past Volunteer Coordinators were not given ample opportunities to integrate themselves fully in the administration aspects of CBEC and the day to day staff communications that drive our organization forward.

Presently, CBEC continues to thrive as an “Ecological Gem for the Community”…not just for Queen Anne’s County, or even the Eastern Shore, but for the greater state of Maryland…and we have plans to continue to increase our offerings. We do not necessarily need a bigger “Village of Volunteers”, we need a more effective “Village”.

Courtney Leigh, Volunteer/Stewardship Coordinator.

In the Spring of 2016, I was hired as the Volunteer Coordinator with the goal of creating an effective and joyful Volunteer Program for CBEC. I have been working at CBEC since 2007 in a variety of capacities. One capacity that inspired my new role is being the Facilitator of the Legacy Institute For The Environment (LIFE) for 6 years. LIFE produces volunteers that need to be transitioned into life at CBEC. As the Volunteer Coordinator, this process will happen more effectively and hopefully increase retention. This concept will also hold true for the resulting volunteers coming out of our Maryland Master Naturalist Program offered for the first time at CBEC this Fall.

The Volunteer Program at CBEC is developing a platform of communication between volunteers and the staff. Shared Village is a portal for volunteers to record hours of activities, discover volunteer opportunities, and RSVP to volunteer opportunities. This tool is increasing CBEC’s capacity to carry out our mission and is making it easier for volunteers to join us on this mission!

It’s a great time to become a Member of CBEC and Volunteer for CBEC at the same time. CBEC offers a diverse variety of opportunities ranging from monitoring ospreys and wood duck populations, assisting with education programming, greeting visitors at the Visitor Center and maintaining our hiking trails to fundraising and outreach. I strive to make this commitment worthwhile! Give me a call or drop me an email if you wish to join the program. Courtney Leigh at cleigh@bayrestoration.org or 443-262-2032.