Milwaukee native Kathy Brehmer has been volunteering with Schlitz Audubon for seven years. Her main role and love is working at the Front Desk, but she regularly supports staff through data entry, filing, and by assisting with mailings. She has also enjoyed teaching classes at the Center on a variety of astronomy topics.
At home in her spare time, Kathy likes to paint and draw, and is an avid reader. Her main focus is spending time with her daughter and her family. She says the grandkids are her joy. Her grandson just started Mechanical Engineering at UW-Madison and she dearly loved taking her granddaughter to dance class for the past 10 years.
We asked Kathy about her experience volunteering at Schlitz Audubon. Here is what she had to say.
How did you come to volunteer at the Center?
I was originally drawn to Schlitz Audubon because I love the Center’s raptors. They weren’t taking raptor volunteers at the time, so I asked to be assigned to the Front Desk. I love the variety and I take it very seriously, as I am one of the first people our guests interact with.
Why is volunteering at the Center important to you?
At the Front Desk, you get to meet and talk with the public every day. I’m a born teacher, so I try to educate people on the history of Schlitz Audubon. To orientate them to the trails, I take them over to the model that shows the whole property and tell them about the history of our 185 acres and what trails they may be interested in. I also promote our wonderful Nature Store and its many beautiful and educational items, as well as all the classes we offer. I try to make visitors feel welcome and convey my love and enthusiasm for Schlitz Audubon to everyone I talk to.
What have you learned while volunteering at Schlitz Audubon?
I have learned a great deal, mostly from talking to the other volunteers and the staff. From the Land Stewards, I have learned about the amazing diversity of our land. The Preschool teachers have shown me the delight in learning from nature firsthand. The raptor staff and volunteers share their knowledge and love of our resident birds, while the office staff and managers are all so knowledgeable, open, and sharing. I get a true sense of belonging to this amazing community.
What is your favorite place, animal, plant, or activity at the Center and why?
As a Milwaukee native, I have a deep love for Lake Michigan. It strengthens my soul every time I come to work and gaze at her beauty. I also have a special relationship with Sky Walker, our Red-tailed Hawk, who greets visitors from her enclosure just outside the Visitor Center. I sign up for any class or activity that involves the raptors.
If you knew someone was thinking of volunteering at the Center, what would you tell them?
I would tell them yes, yes, yes. The work is important and meaningful and will last for years to come. And the bonus is that you get to know and build a community with great people.
Thank you, Kathy, for all you do for Schlitz Audubon! We appreciate your dedication, as well as that of all of our volunteers.
Interested in volunteering? Learn more.