We’re adding a new feature to Volunteer View: stories about YOU, Seattle Audubon’s volunteers. First up: Dave Galvin, who recently served on the Strategic Planning Committee and has supported Seattle Audubon in multiple volunteer roles spanning over four decades. Read on to learn a little about Dave and what inspires him to volunteer. 

I started birding when I was nine, and was lucky to find some wonderful local mentors who took me under their wings and taught me the basics of bird ID.  But beyond birding basics, they taught me to appreciate nature in all its shapes and forms, and to be a conservationist (I don’t think the word “environmentalist” had been invented yet). They gave me a gift that created a life-long theme for me: birds, nature, and environmental protection. 

I was deeply engaged with Seattle Audubon when in my 20s, with inspiration from my close friend, Hazel Wolf, when she was already in her 80s and going strong!  I then sat on the bench for a few decades while raising two kids and working too much on my paid job.  But since retiring, I’m leading bird walks and field trips again (pre-pandemic), and doing what I can to support this great organization at a time when we need its work more than ever. 

When I show a new, young birder the beauty of a Gadwall’s feathers up close, or how some ducks dabble while others dive, or how to tell the drum of a Hairy Woodpecker from that of a Downy, I feel like I’m opening up a world of new appreciation that will carry forward long after I’m gone.  In these dire times when climate change threatens to up-end many of our previous conservation successes, we need more environmental champions who appreciate birds and nature enough to take action. That’s why I volunteer: to give back in memory of the early birders and conservationists who helped this young kid once, in hopes that by doing so I’m actually paying it forward.

Dave Galvin, Seattle Audubon president 1980–82

All photos courtesy of Dave Galvin
Dave and Pam Crocker-Davis, the first statewide Audubon lobbyist in Olympia, early 1980s
Dave and Hazel Wolf
Dave birding, 1982