Who: RV Volunteers
Film by: UNO student and filmmaker Daniel Guillory
Editor’s note: This short documentary is produced, shot and edited by Daniel Guillory, an undergraduate student in the Department of Film, School of the Arts at the University of New Orleans.
[Full transcription below]
My name is Becky Larkins. I’m the resident volunteer coordinator at the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex. As the resident volunteer coordinator, I get to work with amazing volunteers that have traveled all across the country. Working with the National Wildlife Refuge System, National Park Service, state parks, and other resident volunteer camper sites. Resident volunteers make the backbone of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Especially with the climbing budgets the past couple of administrations. It has truly saved us with maintenance fees, on trails, ensuring that we have correct brochures out, and just trying to maintain your National Wildlife Refuges.
We get along actually better because we have things to share. Different things that happen during the day. We don’t work together. We choose to work separately. We do anything from working in the visitor center, be a visiting greeter to people, giving them directions, to cleaning the office, to trimming outside and working in a butterfly garden, delivering brochures. And, Chuck, you can tell them what you do.
I’m a habitat operator. Dig ditches, clean ditches, whatever is going on with the excavators, dozers.
We love traveling. Both of us. And it’s an easy way to see the United States on a very limited budget. In the few hours that you work. It’s never real hard work, and it’s just a lot of fun. You meet great people, other volunteers. I think it’s a great program. I think it’s. . . I try to sell it whenever anyone asks me about it. It’s a good way to see the United States. Fish and Wildlife is a great organization to volunteer for because you usually work 24 to 32 hours and you get a nice site, you’re not crowded, you work with some great people. Usually, management is very easy to work with, and it’s just kind of fun to learn about the different areas and what kind of animals they’re trying to help.
My name is Sandy Woodland. I am a resident volunteer here at the Refuge. When you’re working . . . Of course, I do a lot of volunteer . . . the interpretative type things, so I interact with the public a little bit more. So, I will schedule a bird walk, or do a historical tour or something of that sort. So, my days are pretty much broken up a lot instead of getting up and going to work at 8 o’clock and coming back at 4, I’ll go out more days of the week and give little programs here and there.
What I’m learning about the environment and about the land around us is unbelievable. And you don’t even know you’re absorbing some of it. And the joy of sharing it with others is also rewarding.