• Museum's Fall Fundraiser,November 4
  • The Big Dirty Rock Club
  • Grapes and Grains Festival
  • Gifts and Bequests Information
  • The Museum Becomes More Accessible
  • Volunteer's Corner: A Profile


Fall Edition 2001

Volunteer's Corner: A Profile

My name is Margaret Furumo. I grew up in a family with close ties to the natural world. My father's family homesteaded in Southeastern Alaska;I was born in Sitka, on a beautiful Baranoff Island. We moved to Colorado when I was five. My siblings and I spent weekends and summers exploring the countryside where we lived, just east of the city of Boulder. I was fascinated by birds and butterflies, grasshoppers and snakes, wildflowers and trees. Camping trips and Sunday drives to the mountains rounded out our experiences. It was then that I developed my other lifelong interests of reading, writing and drawing.

When my husband, Toren, adn I married, we spent our first few years living about 9,000 feet above sea level in a cabin in the middle of a wildflower meadow. July was always spectacular with blooms of columbine, paintbursh, and my favorite, wild roses. our home was adjacent to a National Forest with Ponderosa pine, Aspen and Douglas fir. In May. The Broad-tailed Hummingbirds arrived, often zinging in and out of our cabin. Our daughter, Leah, was born while we lived there.

Eventually, we returned to Boulder where our son, Jesse was born. We lived a short walk from the foothills, a ecological transition zone. This meant that both eastern and western varieties of some species lived in the same area; for example, we often saw both Stellar's Jays(western) and Blue Jays(eastern).There were also Mule Deer in our yeard, raccoons nesting in the chimney and parades of skunk families in the alley;Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Black-capped and Mountain chickadees, House Finches and several varieties of Juncos.

I returned to college and completed bachelors degrees in Linguistics and Spanish at the University of Colorado, just a few blocks from our home. I have taught English-As-A-Second Language, worked for Social Services, worked in a research library and in a children's library. I still read, write and draw whenever I can. I currently work for Santa Barbara County and I am working on prerequisites for Graduate School.

Four years ago, Toren, our cat, Chico, and I moved to the Central Coast. At first, I was disoriented. The trees and many birds were not familiar, and the seasons are more subtle. But as we settled in, I began learning with whom humans share this area. I discovered birds that sing late at night (Mockingbirds) and others that fly under water(Guillemots);butterflies that migrate(Monarchs) and hummingbirds that don't(Anna's);trees that lose their leaves in summer droughts (Blue Oaks) and terra firma that isn't always;bats that catch dinner on the ground (Pallid Bats) and spiders that march down roads looking for a mate (tarantulas);stars that live in water(starfish)and the largest animals on Earth (Blue Whales).

One day, when visiting the Santa Maria library, I noticed that a Natural History Museum had opened across the street. I walked over and introduced myself. Since then, I have enjoyed working in the museum, learning about our exhibits, meeting visitors and contributing to the newsletter. I hope that as the museum grows, we will be able to present more of the unique features of the Central Coast (like those butterflies that don't migrate and hummingbirds that do). I also would like to see a children's page added to the newsletter. And, I hope that our small library of resources will continue to expand. Most of all, though I hope the museum will be able to continue to provide opportunities for us all to learn about where we live.

You can meet Margaret on Saturdays when it is her turn to volunteer at the Museum.

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