Volunteer Spotlight: Mt. Ararat Biology Mentors

Visit the Ecology Center on a Thursday morning in September or October, and you will find a group of community members who make time in their busy lives to share their passion for nature-based field research with Mt. Ararat High School Biology teacher Glenn Evans’ students. You may identify them by a fiercely-pocketed field vest, nets, GPS units, and assorted equipment…or simply by the smile that comes with knowing you get to spend the next hour and a half outdoors.

“It’s great to get away from the office – computer, data analyses and reports – to spend the morning in the woods at CREA working with such inquisitive young students. As summer turns to fall, we see the students gain an appreciation for actually “doing” science – what a great program, so glad to have the opportunity to participate.” -Scott Libby

Scott Libby has been mentoring for 3 years and joins CREA from Battelle where he is a Research Scientist Oceanographer. His group is monitoring water level and quality in the river. Kevin Doran, 14-year mentor, retired from the ME Forest Service and currently works as a Natural Science Educator and Professor of Adult Education at USM. His group is inventorying forest growth in a permanent plot. David Reed, 10-year mentor, Ph.D. and retired Professor, is showing students how to use invertebrate diversity to assess water quality in the Cathance River. Meg Holland, first-year mentor and amateur birder, is helping students track and compare bird species in different ecological communities. Adam Gravel, Wildlife Biologist at Stantec and 9-year mentor, has students setting up wildlife cameras on the Preserve to survey mammals in the area. Fred Cichocki, 4-year mentor, Natural History Activity Lead at Chewonki, and Maine Master Naturalist, is working with students to survey ecological diversity of the Heath.

Many thanks to these volunteers who create what is, for many students, a transformative experience – the messy, yet precise, business of collecting and analyzing data that has real world applications. We are deeply indebted to these fine individuals who, year after year, inspire budding young biologists. We know for a fact that some go on to become wildlife biologists, educators, engineers, and more. Many thanks to this year’s group of dedicated mentors: Fred Cichocki, David Reed, Adam Gravel, Glenn Evans, Meg Holland, Scott Libby, and Kevin Doran!