Knowing she's helping enrich the lives of schoolchildren by adding to their understanding of Nevada's history, culture and natural wonders is part of what keeps museum volunteer Margee McCafferty going.
McCafferty also is motivated by the fact that her volunteer service is helping the state museum through one of its toughest financial crises. She regularly leads guided tours and programs for school kids and scouts in all areas of the museum, but the nature programs are her personal favorite.
"The kids just love looking under the microscope in the Discovery Lab, seeing the exhibits and making projects in our activity room," McCafferty said.
"One of the things I find most gratifying about being a volunteer guide for school tours is that at the end of the tour so many kids tell me what a good time they had learning and how they can't wait to return with their families to share the experience.
"I'm thrilled that as a volunteer I can provide them with an experience they might otherwise have missed," she said.
Her efforts are now more important than ever as regular museum employees are working reduced days and hours.
The Nevada State Museum encourages people to join McCafferty by becoming a museum volunteer and attending the Nevada State Museum's Winter Tour Guide Training.
The four-day training, always fun-filled and inspiring, runs 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Jan. 11-12 and 18-19. No prior experience is necessary; all materials and refreshments are provided free of charge.
"The Nevada State Museum always needs volunteers; we couldn't continue to run such an exhaustive amount of programming and lead so many tours for students without them," said Museum Director Jim Barmore. "New volunteers are needed now more than ever to help the museum through tough financial times."
The training includes practice sessions in Nevada history, Native American culture and natural history.
"We cater to a variety of learning styles, and the volunteers really bond with each other," said Curator of Education Deborah Stevenson. "Hands-on activities complement the lectures, so there is something for everyone."
The last day of training includes a free field trip to the Nevada Museum of Art to view the new Audubon exhibit.
Volunteers, ages 15-99, are sought to meet the growing demand, especially for school tours. For a complete training agenda, participants can register with Stevenson at 775-687-4810 ext. 237, or dstevenson@nevadaculture