Port Vue Resident Receives National Aviary Volunteer of the Year Honor

Janet with an Eastern Screech-Owl

The National Aviary has named Port Vue resident Janet Robb its 2021 Volunteer of the Year in honor of her years of service and dedication to the Aviary. She is recognized for her strong leadership, excellence in visitor engagement, and ongoing commitment to the National Aviary’s mission to inspire respect for nature through an appreciation of birds.

“The National Aviary is fortunate to have volunteers of Janet Robb’s caliber. Our volunteers play a vital role in helping the National Aviary fulfill its mission,” says Angelica Miller, National Aviary Volunteer Coordinator. “Janet’s many years of dedicated service have enriched the National Aviary and sparked a love for birds in countless visitors. We are so proud to call Janet Robb our Volunteer of the Year.”

Robb came to the National Aviary after a successful career in education. She taught public speaking courses at McKeesport Area High School for 39 years, successfully coaching and mentoring students who went on to win state and national competitions. Since she began volunteering in 2009, Robb has put her experience as an educator to use in a number of roles at the National Aviary. She frequently works as a docent in the Aviary’s immersive habitats, playing a key role in visitor engagement. With her strong knowledge of the more than 150 species that call the National Aviary home, Robb is well positioned to highlight the diverse species in each habitat and share their conservation stories with visitors. She also introduces guests to species as varied as African Penguins and Eastern Screech-Owls during Animal Encounters, one-of-a-kind small group experiences that encourage visitors to be curious and to care about animals and their habitats.

“When I retired from teaching I wanted to do something totally different from the kind of teaching I did in the classroom, that kept my brain working, and I knew wanted to learn,” says Robb. “Every day I volunteer at the National Aviary brings new and exciting experiences that create great memories of people, events, and, of course, the birds, bats, and sloths. Before starting at the National Aviary in 2009, I knew next to nothing about birds. I thought I would be handing out brochures or helping people find their way around. I never dreamed that, with training from Aviary experts and years of experience, I would be teaching classes and facilitating Animal Encounters! I have certainly fulfilled my two reasons for volunteering after retirement.”

The National Aviary is accepting applications for a range of volunteer positions. Those interested in volunteering can visit aviary.org/volunteer to learn more about open positions and the application process.

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