Having Fun, Teaching Others
03/1/2017 - ABQ BioPark volunteer Vickie Regina struggled when asked about her favorite volunteer hat—she’s an Aquarium docent, touchpool volunteer and garden railroader
“Whatever I’m doing at the time is my favorite,” she said.
Regina has been volunteering at the BioPark Aquarium and Botanic Garden for four years and became interested in the volunteer program after participating in Zoo Boo. She said volunteering at the BioPark gives her a unique opportunity to meet a variety of “new and fun” people from all over the country, and even the world.
“For example, yesterday I met two people from South America and today I met someone from Philadelphia,” she said. “…This is such a good place to volunteer if you like people and love animals.”
Regina is originally from Massachusetts and has lived in various places. But when her son came to Albuquerque on a job transfer with Regina's newborn grandson, she knew she was Albuquerque bound.
“I said, ‘they’re not raising that child without me,’ and the rest is history.”
Regina worked for years as a registered nurse and has a degree in fine arts. In fact, she still likes to paint and said she draws much of her inspiration from nature.
“Our motto at the BioPark is ‘Our Actions Matter,’ and that’s always been inspiring to me.”
And, Regina said, volunteering gives her the opportunity to pass that love of nature and conservation on to others.
“If you love nature and want to preserve the natural world, this is the place to be…Everything has a balance and everything has a place and we can be a part of that and tell people about that,” she said. “As a volunteer, one of our responsibilities is to pass that on to other people, especially kids.”
She added that BioPark staff appreciate volunteers and make them feel welcomed.
“I think that the paid people know the volunteers are the backbone of the BioPark and they’re very respectful,” she said.
Regina said it’s important for new volunteers to find a niche. With a variety of volunteer jobs available, individuals can choose activities that appeal to them, from acting as a tour guide or greeter, to visiting schools, to introducing the public to animals like alpacas and the rays at the touchpool.
But her biggest piece of advice to volunteers is simple.
“Just go out there and have fun. That’s what I tell new docents and volunteers. That’s really what it’s all about.”
Story by Tina Deines