VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: TERI MAHNKEN
By Megan Maynard
Our May Volunteer Spotlight of the Month is Teri Mahnken.
Having resided in Colorado, Washington, Utah, and even the UK for a brief time, Teri eventually found residence in Florida. She heard Florida had a heavy sea turtle population, but it was a pleasant surprise to learn she had landed in sea turtle centric Brevard County. Shortly after moving in, she joined STPS and has been a member for seven years. In her personal endeavors, she is a project manager for a media software company and an artist. In the near future, she hopes to get space at a local art market with another artist friend.
As the STPS adoptions and donations coordinator, Teri stays busy, but also participates in nesting, STERP, and some education programs. She is quite fond of her Sunday morning nesting survey sessions. Besides the great volunteers she has met and the contribution the organization makes in helping conserve the species, participating in nesting surveys is particularly special. You cannot be uninspired when you see a nest erupt or a hatchling during a nesting evaluation, Teri says.
Recently Teri has been volunteering at the Sea Turtle Healing Center at Brevard Zoo and has been devouring as much knowledge as she can. Through the other volunteers, she is always learning something new.
What can prove difficult is balancing her job with her volunteering; there is only one of her to do her job. At STPS, she has been impressed that there is an alternate plan or backup volunteer and everyone works beautifully together. The adoption and donations tasks allow her to work at any time. What she has learned with the organization is that anyone can participate and find a suitable role. Whether you are shy or outgoing, retired or working, snow bird or student, young or old, there is a perfect fit for everyone. One day, Teri would love to be a board member and expand her position. She states for those who want to help sea turtles (even as non-members), reduce your consumption of single-use plastic or pick up beach litter. Join STPS if you want to learn more, they always welcome new talent!