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Volunteer Spotlight: Darlene Letnes

by Brittney Gonzalez, ENC Communications Intern

Museum Docent and 2015 ENC Volunteer of the Year Darlene Letnes has volunteered at the Environmental Nature Center for nearly a decade. When she moved to Newport Beach forty-six years ago she discovered the Environmental Nature Center and enjoyed frequent strolls along the trails. She started volunteering in 2009 and has continued to enjoy the facility since then – volunteering twice a week – greeting children and their parents passing through. Darlene is a retired school teacher, so the children who take field trips here or visit with their families bring her great joy.

“When Darlene is here volunteering you’ll rarely see her sitting at the front desk,” said ENC Assistant Director Lori Whalen. “Darlene is usually hanging our in the Nature Museum, giving mini tours to visiting families, telling them whet the ENC is all about.”

Darlene gives her tours to first time visitors because she says, “that is what I would want if I went and visited a museum for the first time.” Natural resource conservation and environmental education are things Darlene feels passionate about. She is proud that the ENC Nature Preschool, the first of its kind in our community, will be a LEED Platinum building. When asked, Darlene wasn’t able to choose just one favorite memory, but she does enjoy the fact that every day here is different. Whether it’s recognizing regulars, or meeting new visitors, Darlene’s experience with them is always different.

When asked what makes the ENC a special part of the community? She responded, “We are the only place that stresses the importance of preserving our environment, and understanding our connection to nature and animals.”

Advice Darlene would share with someone thinking about volunteering at the ENC? “You will meet the most fantastic staff, children and their parents. I believe everyone should be encouraged to be a part of protecting our environment.”

Darlene is such a great woman to be around. Not only is she intelligent and humble about her great adventures and experiences, she really brings the ENC to life. She is passionate, caring and conversational. We are very lucky to have her here with us. As our Assistant Director Lori Whalen and our Director Bo Glover would say, “There’s no one quite like Darlene, and the energy she brings to the ENC is one-of-a-kind.”

For more information on adult volunteer opportunities, click HERE.

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