Clara Beier has been a devoted volunteer since she joined in 2014. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to feature her and her work in the “Volunteer Spotlight”.
Clara has dedicated her life to education in one form or another. She retired from a 40-year career of teaching with a specialty in elementary education and literacy instruction. She started teaching Kindergaten-1st grade then eventually moved into teaching at the university level at the University of Montana-Western and then on to State University of New York at Fredonia.
Clara has lived throughout the West and most recently in Fredonia, NY, near Buffalo. She was raised in Seattle and was delighted to come back to the PNW when given the opportunity. She shared, “In retiring, I knew I wanted to volunteer so that I could meet new people and try something different.” In 2013 she officially retired and made her return to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Clara explained that she wanted to expand her knowledge of science, natural resources, geography, and the Salish Sea and the Sound Water Stewards volunteer training seemed like a perfect fit. She enjoyed her classes so much that she joined the Volunteer Education Training Committee (VETC) after she graduated. That way she could help with the education of new volunteers and also continue taking classes over and over.
During her work on the committee, she became more interested in curriculum development. In 2016, during our transition into Sound Water Stewards, she took on coordinating the whole volunteer education program on Whidbey Island. During her time with us, she has volunteered with multiple projects including COASST (bird survey and marine debris survey), intertidal monitoring, and beach clean-ups. It was obvious from our conversation that the most meaningful activity for her was her time spent facilitating the education of Whidbey volunteers and collaborating with Camano VETC. Clara loved getting to know the new stewards and their reasons for expanding their knowledge. Field trips were Clara’s favorite part of training because “Field trips are where you get to see the actual concepts and impacts.”
“My time working with the new students has been rewarding and I know that people would love to serve on the committee, and there is a place for everyone,” Clara said. After three years serving on the committee, she is ready to take on a new challenge. Thank you Clara for all your hard work and enthusiasm!