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Volunteers logged over 9,000 hours in 2019

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Volunteers logged over 9,000 hours in 2019
April 17, 2020

In honor of National Volunteer Week, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park employees thank the park’s irreplaceable volunteers for their time and energy all year-round.

In 2019, 190 volunteers at Northwest Trek logged a total of 9,115 hours. They volunteered in many departments, including animal care, veterinary, conservation, education, horticulture, and maintenance, as well as with the Northwest Trek Foundation Board and on special events.

“We are so grateful for every single one of our volunteers who helps to make the park thrive,” said volunteer coordinator, MacKenzie Shaefer.

Highlighting our volunteers

Terri Terault, Animal Care Volunteer

Terri Terault has volunteered at Northwest Trek in the Animal Care department since 2007, rarely missing a Sunday. Just in the past year, she’s contributed over 300 volunteer hours.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with and learn from some of the best keepers in the entire world,” said Terault. “I have a full-time job outside of Northwest Trek, which can be extremely stressful at times, so Northwest Trek is like my second home, my safe haven. It brings balance to my life.”

Terault prepares diets for 23 different species throughout the park and assists in the Cheney Discovery Center where she cleans exhibits, feeds the slug and snail and teaches visitors about the animals.

“It gives me great pleasure watching children’s eyes light up with excitement knowing that I was able to teach them about these beautiful creatures we share the world with and why we need to respect and protect them,” said Terault. “I always like to say that Northwest Trek is the happiest place on Earth!”

Terault says she doesn’t see a day when she won’t be volunteering at the park, and is looking forward to volunteering even more when she retires.

“Terri loves the animals and helping them. She makes diets for them week in and week out, helps with enrichment and cleaning, and is always ready to jump in wherever needed,” said Assistant Curator Ed Cleveland. “She’s even helped train other volunteers and interns. Our staff count on Terri, because she is so reliable and caring.”

Thank you, Terri Terault, for your continued care and dedication!

Liz Beckelman, Jack-of-all-trades Volunteer

After 39 years of working, Liz Beckelman decided to retire and volunteer at Northwest Trek to keep occupied. She’s also a Northwest Trek Foundation board member.

“I love the park and really enjoy working with everyone there!” said Beckelman.

Beckelman helps with volunteer administrative work and preparing food for the animals with the Animal Care team.

“Liz is a jack-of-all-trades, and we are so grateful to have her on board,” said Cleveland. “Her help allows the keepers to spend more time in areas they need to be. We count on Liz so much.”

Thank you, Liz Beckelman, for your continued care and dedication!

Carl Prather, Horticulture Volunteer

“When I decided to retire for the second time, my wife told me that she married me for better or worse, but not for lunch. Find something to do!” said Prather.

Before retiring, Prather worked indoors and behind a desk for 20 years. In 2013, he was looking for something that put him out in nature, and the first place he thought of was Northwest Trek.

“We brought our kids to Northwest Trek for the first time in 1991 and have kept coming with every change of season since then,” said Prather. “I am fascinated with the park and the people working so hard to make it a success.”

While interviewing Prather, the volunteer coordination team discovered Prather had his undergraduate degree in biology with a focus on botany, and asked if he’d like to work with the park’s horticulturist, Jake Pool.

“I spent a day with Jake and was hooked,” said Prather. “Every time I come into Northwest Trek, I feel like I’m on my own private tour of the park with up close and personal experiences with the animals and caretakers. I learn something every day about the balance of nature and how everything has its place.”

Prather says he misses Northwest Trek dearly while the park is closed due to coronavirus concerns. Carl, the employees miss you too!

“Carl has been instrumental in so many horticulture projects throughout Northwest Trek. He’s had a lasting impact on the park,” said Pool. “Our staff looks forward to working with him whenever he’s on grounds. We enjoy his positive attitude and his willingness to tackle whatever we challenge him with.”

Thank you, Carl Prather, for your continued care and dedication!


Fresh air, forest, fun. There are so many reasons to volunteer at Northwest Trek. If you love working outside, learning about wildlife and helping others enjoy it too, then we’ve got a spot for you!

DO IT: Northwest Trek offers volunteer opportunities for education, conservation, special events and horticulture. All formal volunteers must complete an application, orientation and training. LEARN MORE: On our volunteer page

Currently, due to coronavirus concerns, volunteers are not able to be on grounds, but the employees are looking forward to the day the volunteers can once again join them!