Skip to main content

Thank you, volunteers!

  Blog Home
Thank you, volunteers!
April 19, 2024

Thanks to dedicated volunteers — 93 of them last year, logging a collective 6,907 hours of service — Northwest Trek can provide exceptional care to our animals, habitats, park grounds, and guests.

In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Week from April 21-27, we are highlighting three exceptional Northwest Trek volunteers who are making a positive impact with their time and hearts.

Karin Jordan

Karin Jordan has been making the trek to Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville just about every Friday since 2007 to do one of her favorite things: make meaningful connections.

Jordan, 80, usually spends her days overseeing a cart full of information about an animal resident. Whether it’s the bald eagles or the bears, she is knowledgeable and enthusiastic. She’s a ray of sunshine and spends a lot of time at the Cheney Discovery Center, where kiddos can meet banana slugs, garter snakes, Pacific tree frogs, and more small and fascinating critters.

“Karin is so incredible that I have had random people tell me how much they love her when they learn I work at Northwest Trek,” said Jackie Beatty, a naturalist who oversees the park volunteer program. “Karin is an amazing person who has helped hundreds of new volunteers and staff learn the ropes. I don’t know what we would do without her.”

Karin first became acquainted with Northwest Trek thanks to her daughter, Roberta, who had worked as a naturalist there. She suggested that her mother, who was retired, try it out. Her daughter has since moved on, but Jordan is still volunteering.

Jordan enjoys the drive to the wildlife park, especially “when the mountain’s out,” she said. When she arrives at Northwest Trek, it takes her away from life’s daily stresses and offers solace.

“It’s a wonderful feeling getting out of the house and talking to people and animals,” Jordan said. She loves connecting with people and discovering new TV shows to watch or fielding a question that sends her on a research adventure. Then she shares her newfound knowledge the next week.

Sometimes, she finds herself chatting with a snowy owl or a resident raccoon. “I’ll say, ‘How are you?’ Sometimes he makes this mumbling sound, and I will say, ‘What are you trying to tell me?’” She might encourage her animal friends to eat their lunch before the crows do.

Most importantly, she feels a great passion for helping people of all ages understand the park’s mission for animal conservation and education when she shares the personal stories of the animals who call it home.

“I help Northwest Trek, and Northwest Trek helps me an awful lot,” she said. “I’ll be volunteering as long as I can move.”

Kate Crott and Chris Koslin

Volunteering can be rewarding, but doing it alongside your best friend is quality time that is spent doubly well. Just ask Kate Crott and Chris Koslin, who began volunteering together at Northwest Trek in October 2023.

They both love animals, the outdoors, and their community. Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is their neighbor. The duo enjoys rolling up their sleeves and accomplishing projects, whether it’s mingling with guests or building benches.

“They have already made a huge impact,” Beatty said. “They have always been ready to jump in and help wherever they were needed. They came out for our Hoot ‘n’ Howl event, played games with children in the Picnic Pavilion, and were so friendly to our guests. They were also helpful to our teen volunteers who looked up to them as good examples.”

They volunteer in multiple departments — usually together and about an afternoon every other week, and more for special projects and events.

“We have been doing most of our volunteering with the maintenance department, which has been so awesome,” Crott said. “We help with a variety of projects — decorating the trucks for the holiday parade in Eatonville, fixing benches, maintaining trails, and of course, the never-ending task of cutting back blackberry bushes!”

Two of the volunteer projects they worked on have left a lasting impression and sense of pride.

“I loved planting the sequoia tree, so now every time we come to the park, we can see it,” Crott said. “But also helping behind the scenes with the wolf habitat was neat. The wolves were curious about what we were doing, but we had to be very mindful to stay focused on our task.”

Koslin echoed the sentiment. “I enjoyed the wolf habitat work we did as well as cleaning out the flower beds and the plant trimming to make the park more family-friendly and clean. I also love driving through the Free-Roaming Area.”

They both are thrilled that they are at a point in their careers (she is an industrial hygienist, and he’s an environmental health and safety manager) where they can spend some of their time giving back to their community.

“Northwest Trek is a great place to volunteer. All the staff are super friendly and approachable. It is also a great way to spend time with the animals native to the Pacific Northwest,” Koslin said.

“There is a wide variety of volunteers — people of all ages and walks of life. Definitely give volunteering a try. It is a great chance to meet people and engage with the community,” Crott added.

Interested in Volunteering at Northwest Trek?

There are plenty of volunteer opportunities, especially during the busy seasons and special events. Learn more here.