Lake Erie Nature & Science Center honors volunteers of the year

Paige Burns receiving the "Student Volunteer of the Year" award at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center recognized Kirsten Wykowski and Paige Burns with volunteer-of-the-year awards at the organization’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Celebration on Aug. 13.

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 people who consistently demonstrate teamwork, reliability, responsibility and leadership within the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center Volunteer Program.

Wykowski was recognized as “Adult Volunteer of the Year” for her dedication to the Center’s wildlife rehabilitation program. Wykowski studied zoology at The Ohio State University and earned a master’s degree in biology from Miami University. She began volunteering with Lake Erie Nature & Science Center in 2015, and plans to continue her education by pursuing a doctorate in veterinary medicine.   

Burns, of Westlake, was recognized as “Student Volunteer of the Year” for her commitment to the Center’s Project Wildlife program and her many volunteer hours in animal care and summer camps. She plans to attend Ohio University this fall to pursue a degree in wildlife and conservation biology.

“Volunteering at the Center has been an experience I never would have dreamed of, being able to learn about wildlife hands-on,” said Burns. “Not only did the Center give me the opportunity to work with wild animals, it also introduced me to amazing people who helped me break out of my shell and become more social!”

“Kirsten, Paige and all of our volunteers help to make Lake Erie Nature & Science Center a treasured destination for children and families of all ages,” says Executive Director, Catherine Timko. “The Center is able to serve more than 165,000 people annually with exhibits, programs and animals because of these dedicated volunteers who 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 11, Issue 16, Posted 9:19 AM, 08.20.2019