Volunteer Spotlight: Mitch Masters

Mitch Masters is a retired biologist and professor from The Ohio State University where he specialized in animal behavior. His research interest was echolocation by big brown bats. Upon officially retiring, he found he had a little more free time, so in the fall of 2013 Mitch decided volunteering at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center would be a worthwhile thing to be doing. As someone who always enjoyed and appreciated nature, Mitch thought he would enjoy promoting nature and the center and had always thought that the work Audubon did was important – he still believes that today, now more than ever.

Mitch will be celebrating his 5-year volunteer anniversary with us in October. He’s almost hit the 750-hour mark for volunteer time with us in the past five years. You can usually find him at the front desk on Wednesday afternoons greeting visitors but he’s always been willing to help out in anyway needed. He has participated in butterfly monitoring and has assisted with special events like Birds, Bands and Beer a few years ago. Most recently he problem-solved a more efficient way to attach straps to our new set of binoculars (a lot of them) and he repaired our popular children’s play tent in the library. Mitch is one of our go-to guys when we need assistance with repairs and clever fixes. Mitch knows all sorts of information about all sorts of things; in fact, our educator Chrissie says that he’s the one you want to take outside when you hear a bird you’re not familiar with.

Besides volunteering at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center, Mitch also does a little work in the Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics at the Ohio State University where he enters bat sound records into their database. When time permits, he “tries to become a better watercolor painter” though if you had the opportunity to see some of his work on exhibit during our volunteer art exhibit this summer, you’ll see he’s already very talented! And, you can enjoy an example of his watercolor here with his submission of a Speckled Tanager that was inspired by a photo of the bird that he took in Costa Rica. Mitch didn’t have time to watercolor when he was working so he’s embracing it now; and, even volunteers with the Central Ohio Watercolor Society as well.

Volunteering at the Center reminds him that there are a lot of people in the world trying to make it a better place for our children, and our children’s children. While there isn’t necessarily one big moment that stands out for him in his time volunteering at the Center, he has lots of pleasant little memories so far. He enjoys interacting with the staff and visitors alike. When asked what he hoped to gain from his volunteer experience when he first came in for his volunteer interview, Mitch stated that he hoped to talk to new people and learn more about things. So far in his time at the center he states he’s always learning something.

Mitch also enjoys birding, home repair and improvement and helping his wife with her native-plant landscaping though he will be the first to tell you that she does most of the work, for sure! He and his wife have also started traveling a bit more and have visited some exciting places and beautiful places including Costa Rica, Newfoundland, the Grand Canyon and Italy! Be sure to ask him about his travels if you stop in on a Wednesday afternoon. Thank you for all the time you’ve given over the past five years so far, Mitch! We enjoy seeing you each week and are appreciative of all you do for the center!