The Nature Center is a member-driven and supported organization. Our members are very important to us! We value the relationships we have built over the decades with individuals and families, and nothing makes us happier than when we have multiple generations in attendance!
Additionally, as a small nonprofit, we rely heavily on our volunteers to help us in everything from serving on our Board of Trustees to clearing trails to scaring kids on the Spooky Nature Trail to sowing seeds at the Giving Garden to feeding our resident animals. The Nature Center could not function without the dedication and commitment of our volunteers.
In December 2015, Cassandra Meyer-Ogren joined the Nature Center staff as manager of events, volunteers and membership. Since her arrival she has been working to modernize and streamline our processes for membership and volunteering, and has taken the helm of organizing our ever-growing array of signature events. We caught up with her recently to ask a few questions.
Name: Cassandra Meyer-Ogren
Hometown: Hope Valley, RI
Where were you born and raised: On a farm in Matunuck, RI located less than a mile from the ocean and right next to Trustom Wildlife Refuge. Animals from land, sea and sky were a large part of my upbringing. While we had horses, cows and sheep along with cats and dogs, we were forever taking in animals in need of a home. Each year we would have snapping turtles come to lay their eggs in the fresh tilled fields, watch deer, coyotes and foxes move throughout the fields while watching hawks and osprey fly overhead.
Education/degrees: B.A. in Communications Studies
How long have you worked at DPNC: 5 months!
What is your current position? Events, Membership and Volunteer Manager
What’s the best part about your job? The best part of my job is working with people that care about animals and nature. The volunteers and staff here are some of the kindest people I have ever met. In my role here I get to serve as the conduit connecting those who want to appreciate nature, work in the Giving Garden or help care for animals with the departments looking for assistance. Volunteers are excited to be give their time to make a difference we are thrilled to have their help so that we can do more programming, help more animals and further our mission. I also manage events of different types for a variety of audiences, which gives DPNC a chance to engage with more people and educate people in a variety of exciting ways.
What’s the best part about the DPNC? The animals and events/programming! The animals here are amazing, but I am also really loving walking the trails on days that the weather cooperates. There is no better way to spend a lunch break than out walking in nature!
I truly feel that no other organization in the area has the programming that we do here at DPNC. Generally nature organizations like ours only focus on children or families, with little geared for adults. Prior to coming on board I personally participated in adult programs here and have been so impressed with the offerings being both fun and informative – like Owls and Ales or the History and Mystery of Tea. DPNC is a true gem for people of all ages. “
What do people ask you most often when they find out you work at a Nature Center? When people hear that I work at the Nature Center one of the first things they ask is what kind of animals we have. As of late people are asking if I will work out of the Nature Center or at Coogan Farm. People are very excited for the grand opening at Coogan!
What surprises you about your job? The people who work here, volunteer here and visit here are so genuinely kindhearted and passionate about this wonderful place. I have worked at two other not-for-profits and the heart here is truly inspiring. I am delighted to be a part of DPNC.
Favorite animal, plant, or … (and why): “I have too many favorites, so now I have classifications to allow for having so many. My favorite mammal is Acorn, the most amazing and social rabbit in the whole world. Of the birds of prey, my favorite are the screech owls. Their appearance is so charming and textured, but they are great hunters. My favorite resident bird is the pigeon, I have loved them ever since I was a child – and their plumage is truly remarkable. My favorite animal to frequent our bird feeders are the squirrels. Their amazing ability to get past the baffle, hang upside down and sideways all to get at the seed is truly impressive. I have deemed them to be “nature’s ninjas”.