Volunteer Spotlight: Bonnie Halchin-Smith

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Bonnie and her husband enjoyed walking their dogs and bird watching along the Scioto bike path long before the center opened in 2009. She is grateful that the park and center have become a much more welcoming and beautiful place and is excited to play a role in the center’s success.  Bonnie says that being in nature has always provided her with solace; and, the opportunity to share her passion with others is rewarding.

Before retiring in 2014, Bonnie taught middle school science and math for Columbus City Schools for 30 some years. The last few years before retiring, her classrooms participated in our Conservation Classroom partnership. She was always an enthusiastic and inspiring teacher – a wonderful role model to the students she taught.

While Bonnie has taken on many volunteer roles over the last four years, her favorite experience was co-teaching the Landscape for Life class which allowed her to share her love of gardening with others. She also enjoys chatting with the “fantastic staff and other volunteers” at the center. She is often a greeter at the front desk, getting her hands dirty gardening in our native plant gardens and helping out with special events and projects, even decorating and cutting out bits and pieces for crafts.

Bonnie has also volunteered for the Capital Area Humane Society for many years, taking cats that were up for adoption to a senior care facility to visit. When Bonnie is volunteering as a greeter at our front desk, she often has a needle and thread in hand. She makes a few quilts a year for children staying at the Ronald McDonald House and she’s made a quilt for Los Desconocidos, a group that raises awareness of the plight of migrants crossing the border near Tucson, Arizona. She’s even been seen knitting warm gloves and piecing together beautiful totes – she does amazing work!

Bonnie has a magnificent native plant garden admitting she spends a “crazy amount of time” in her garden (and can often be seen in our gardens at the center as well).  Most of the staff sees Bonnie walking her dog, Bounder, upon arriving to work. And, if she’s not gardening, walking her dog, traveling, quilting or volunteering, she is most likely reading, cooking or out hiking someplace wonderful. She’s a very energetic lady! Bonnie, thank you for all you do for the center, our staff and visitors!