View of the museum's north woods garden

High School Volunteers at the Bell

April is National Volunteer Month—learn more about our high school volunteers!

Published04/13/2022 , by Emily Dzieweczynski

April is National Volunteer Month! During this time, we celebrate the dedication of our volunteers who make the visitors’ experiences at the Bell so special. A particularly unique group of volunteers are our high school volunteers. Each year, high school students who are interested in museums and natural history can apply to work in our exhibits as volunteers. These students come to the Bell with a wide range of interests and experiences that allow them to offer unique perspectives to our visitors. Keep reading to learn more about some of this years’ high school volunteers!

 

Meet Ian! 

A Volunteer in a Bell museum shirt in front of wood panelling

Ian has always had an interest in collections. In 2018, he was a volunteer at the University of Minnesota’s Insect Collection (another incredible volunteer opportunity!). Around this time, he heard about the Bell’s natural history collections and joined our mailing list. A few years later, he saw the call for volunteers and went for it!

In the future, Ian would like to work in some kind of animal science but the experience as a volunteer at the Bell is causing him to become more and more interested in education and science communication. He’s learning that he loves talking to visitors of all ages at the museum and sparking curiosity for the natural world. He shared that it’s just as rewarding to spark interest in adults as it is for kids. Ian explained that being a volunteer is not only an opportunity to teach others about science and nature but also to learn. 

“As much as I get excited about the things I can teach people, I’m equally excited about all the things they can teach me,” he shared.  

One of his favorite memories as a volunteer was while working at the hands-on fish activity cart. During this activity, visitors are invited to look at pictures of fish and try to identify the species. One afternoon, a young child came up to the cart and immediately identified all the correct species. Ian was astonished but later, when he told his mother about the experience, she exclaimed, “that’s exactly how you were when you were a kid!”

 

Meet Anthony!

A volunteer in a Bell Museum shirt in front of wood paneling

For Anthony, volunteering at the Bell has always been a dream. He’s been interested in birds for his entire life and saw the Bell as the perfect place to learn more about this interest. Since he was able to snag a spot as a volunteer this year, he’s spent his time working on the interactive activity carts—particularly the bird cart, not surprisingly. 

Anthony is interested in a career with birds or, more generally, wildlife biology—so the Bell was a natural fit. Up until this experience, Anthony hadn’t had the opportunity to work with people directly in education or science communication—now, he’s learning that he loves it. He loves being able to educate visitors about nature, science, and the incredible things birds can do. 

“Every time I volunteer, I’m able to tell someone at least one thing they didn’t know about birds. For example, the other day, I shared with visitors that bird feathers are made out of the same thing as our hair and nails, keratin! They were so surprised but I understood that—I was surprised when I first learned that too!” Anthony shared.

Ian and Anthony are just a couple of our incredible volunteers—who all make the museum the special place that it is. Thank you to all of our Bell volunteers!