Lake Erie Nature & Science Center honors volunteers of the year

Colleen Bumba, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's Adult Volunteer of the Year

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center recognized Colleen Bumba, D.V.M., and Justin Willard with volunteer-of-the-year awards at the organization’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Celebration on Aug. 17.

Each year, the Center celebrates its many volunteers who are vital in helping the Center to fulfill its mission to educate children, families and students and provide wildlife services. Volunteers help with animal care, docent education, family and youth programming, summer camps and more. The Center’s Volunteers of the Year are those extra special people who consistently demonstrate teamwork, reliability, responsibility and leadership within the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center Volunteer Program.

Bumba, of Kaneohe, Hawaii, was recognized as “Adult Volunteer of the Year” for her dedication to helping in the Center’s wildlife rehabilitation program. Bumba studied medical technology at Marquette University and earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University. She began volunteering with Lake Erie Nature & Science Center in 2015 after retiring from practicing small animal veterinary medicine at Detroit Dover Animal Hospital.

“Volunteering at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center allows me to help injured animals and give back to the veterinary profession that has been so meaningful to me,” says Bumba. Bumba currently resides in Bay Village with her husband, Ken, of 29 years.

Willard, of Sheffield Village, was recognized as “Student Volunteer of the Year” for his commitment to the Center’s distinctive Project Wildlife program. Willard participated in the Center’s programs as a child and applied for Project Wildlife during his freshman year at Lutheran West.

“My favorite part about volunteering with wildlife is handling the raptors. They are such beautiful and powerful creatures, it’s amazing to be given the opportunity to work so closely with them,” said Willard. Willard is currently enrolled in his first semester at Cleveland State University to pursue an undergraduate degree in biology.

“Colleen, Justin and all of our volunteers help to make Lake Erie Nature & Science Center a treasured destination for children, families, students and people seeking help for injured wildlife,” said Executive Director Catherine Timko. “The Center is able to serve more than 168,000 people annually with exhibits, programs and animals because of these dedicated volunteers work alongside our paid professional staff. We are grateful for their skill and enthusiasm.”

To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, visit

Morgan Paskert

Morgan Paskert is on staff at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.

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Volume 9, Issue 18, Posted 10:18 AM, 09.19.2017