Faces of Conservation

Amy Roe supported The Nature Conservancy as a “paying member” for more than a decade before getting more hands-on as a horseshoe crab count volunteer each May and June. That’s when she realized that “counting crabs” wasn’t as easy as it sounded.

During a late night drive after a crab count with Lois Davis, the Conservancy’s horseshoe crab count coordinator, Amy learned about how much time Lois dedicated to training volunteers for this important event.

“She trained each volunteer one-by-one, often during her lunch hour or after work,” says Roe, a Newark native pursuing her doctorate in energy and environmental policy at the University of Delaware. 

That’s when Amy and Lois devised a plan to create a training video for this challenging part of Lois’s job as coordinator. If done right, volunteers could watch the video in advance of the crab count, freeing up Lois to spend time on putting together a tricky schedule that accommodates busy volunteers and crabs guided by the lunar calendar and ocean tides.

The plan worked.

“Amy captured key points and organized them into a logical sequence that resulted in an amazing end product,” says Davis. “The video is already proving to be an invaluable tool that has also saved many hours of training on my part.”

Indeed, with a quick visit to the Volunteer page, experienced volunteers can brush up on their surveying skills, while new folks can receive a formal orientation that prepares them for this new and important responsibility. 

“While it required a learning curve, producing the video was very important to me,” says Roe. “It conjured up memories discovering horseshoe crabs on the beach – a childhood experience that likely led to my study of overfishing and other threats to species like horseshoe crabs.”

Adds Davis, “I get chills every time I watch the video . . . .partly because of Amy’s professional job, but also because she volunteered her time and talents for a need she recognized. Her achievement will benefit the Conservancy for years to come.”


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