“I believe my purpose is to help people and make the world a better place. That’s why I volunteer and will continue to do so when I go to college.” Megan Dancy shared these thoughts about volunteering with me when I interviewed her to be our September 2018 Volunteer of the Month. Nominated by Cathryn Oulighan at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center, we are thrilled to honor Megan and share her story.
A junior in the Westhill High School Regional AgriScience Program, Megan has had a long-standing relationship with the Stamford Museum and Nature Center. As a middle school student, she took the junior curator program on the farm side of the nature center and loved it. In 2016, when she began her freshman year and was accepted into the AgriScience program at Westhill, she learned that she needed to participate in a supervised agricultural experience. As an animal lover who hopes to pursue this as a career, volunteering at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center is a perfect fit for both her education and her passion.
She quickly took on exotic animal care duties in the Heckscher Wild exhibit and this summer she began spending three days per week in Heckscher Wild. She has gained enough experience that she is trusted to work independently with every single animal in the exhibit. When I asked her what she loves about volunteering at Heckscher Wild she said one of her favorite aspects is the different habitats. “We have all kinds of animals, from hedgehogs to snakes, to preying mantids! Heckscher Wild has introduced me to some of my favorite furry friends!”
Since 2016 Megan has given over 260 hours of volunteer time to the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. “Megan is extremely reliable, truly cares about the welfare of the animals, and is a pleasure to work with,” shared Cathryn Oulighan, Volunteer & Community Relations Manager. Megan shared with me that she would like to work at a place like the nature center after college; she loves what they do and is so happy to be part of the program.
In addition to her work at Heckscher Farm, Megan is a member of the Senior Company at Darien Arts Center. Dancing since age 5, she shared that it’s a huge part of her life and the amazing group of dancers she is with each day are like another family. She is also one of two junior class representatives for the FFA program at Westhill. All of this keeps her very busy after school, but she is still able to give 5 hours a week to Heckscher Wild. She credits her parents for encouraging her to do what she loves, they support her 100% and she is grateful that they signed her up for the Junior Curator program at the farm when she was younger.
As we were finishing our interview, I asked Megan how she would encourage her peers to give back to their communities and get involved in a volunteer project. “I would say if you are interested in animals or environmental science, or whatever your passion is, research it and don’t be afraid to get involved! Put yourself out there, it’s an amazing experience.”
On behalf of Volunteer Square and the Stamford Museum and Nature Center, we want to thank Megan for her outstanding service and for inspiring others to follow their passion and give back to their community. Congratulations, Megan!