Announcing our 2017 Volunteer of the Year!

By Lauren Miheli, Volunteer Program and Outreach Specialist

The volunteer we are honoring this year has drive, ideas and organizational skills that set her apart from the rest. Because of her willingness to take on more responsibility, passion for conservation and the environment, and come up with creative solutions, we are honoring Hannah Letinich as our volunteer of the year for 2017!

Photo © Hannah Letinich.

As our lead volunteer photographer, Hannah Letinich has been instrumental in creating better efficiencies in how we assign volunteer photographers and communicate with Nature Conservancy staff about photography needs. Hannah’s duties include managing a volunteer photographer webpage, welcoming and training all new volunteer photographers, assigning volunteer photography projects and ensuring all photos and accompanying paperwork are submitted in a timely fashion. Hannah takes full ownership of these tasks and is empowered to do so with complete creative control.

Photo © Hannah Letinich

Our digital and social marketing manager, Nikolaj Lasbo, nominated Hannah for this distinction stating, "Hannah is a rock star when it comes to coordinating our volunteer photographers. This year, she has professionalized our communications with volunteer photographers through email newsletters and has created a portion of our blog devoted to photographer resources. She is currently in the process of planning a learning exchange for volunteer photographers to increase engagement and improve the quality and number of photos we receive for our use.”

Before Hannah’s taking on of this role, coordinating volunteer photographers was something our marketing team implemented, and it was quite a challenge! Making sure that all photo needs were assigned to photographers and that the photographers had all the logistical details and support is a gargantuan task. Hannah’s efforts have added to our capacity to build support for conservation in a major way!

Hannah started as a volunteer photographer when the volunteer photography team first launched in 2015. After being on the team for about a year, she did something rare for a volunteer: She asked if we could give her more responsibility. Through a discussion between her and our volunteer coordinator, the new role of “lead volunteer photographer” was born.

Not only does Hannah organize the rest of the team, but she is one of our most active volunteer photographers herself. Hannah’s photo projects have taken her all over the state, as well as 12,000 feet in the air over our Hoh rainforest project in a Cessna plane. Check out a gallery of selected photos from Hannah below!

Being selected for volunteer of the year for The Nature Conservancy's Washington chapter is no small feat. Volunteers contribute to our mission in meaningful ways all over the state, with our most active volunteers contributing 200-plus hours per year, making a tough decision for our selection committee. As an honorable mention, we would also like to acknowledge our Wenatchee "super volunteer" Kmbris Bond who was the first volunteer at our new office in Wenatchee and has been instrumental in supporting our work east of the Cascades.

Congratulations to Hannah on earning this distinction, and thank you to Kmbris and our 200 other active volunteers for your support and belief in our mission!

Learn More About Our Volunteer Program

Banner photo by Blaz Robar used under CC by 2.0