Robin Bray

"50 Years at Felix Neck" Committee Member • Preschool & Sanctuary Volunteer

Long-time volunteer Robin Bray with Felix Neck preschooler

I first started volunteering at Felix Neck in 2005 and was invited to join the Advisory Committee in 2007 and continue to serve.  What has kept me involved over the years is my desire and need to connect with those of like mind; those who share my strong concern and commitment to the health of the planet, conservation and compassion towards all living creatures.

Before moving to Martha’s Vineyard my work was with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, where for 23 years I worked in the air pollution, hazardous waste and coastal regulatory enforcement programs. When I moved to the Island with my husband in 2003 I quickly realized I needed to find a place where I could connect with others who shared my passion for environmental protection.

Felix Neck became that place and has been an essential part of my life ever since. For me, and for all the volunteers, it is the place we go for friendship, comradery, and most importantly, for hope. 

Planning the "50 years at Felix Neck" events, especially for those who have volunteered much longer than I, has been a sweet walk down memory lane and has given us the opportunity to focus on the vision of the nature center and work on ways to best communicate that vision to the public and encourage their interest and participation so the mission can continue. And it is our opportunity to spread the word and enlist new members.

I think this has been my favorite part of the event planning process. We sit and plan the events together but we also share stories and reminisce and in so doing build those bonds that keep us all fresh and invested in the mission of the nature center. Yes, it is a place to hike and observe but it is also a place to build awareness and compassion towards the natural world. In these very sobering times, even though we must stay apart, it is comforting to connect in any way we can with friends who share our commitment and love of the outdoors and all its inhabitants. 

In 2021, I am looking forward to celebrating the rescheduled 50-year anniversary with all the events we planned for this summer but have had to postpone. I also volunteer at the Felix Neck preschool and am looking forward to seeing the children I miss so much. They possess an innocent and unfiltered love of nature and if we cultivate that love they will carry it throughout their lives.

The anniversary celebration is about the essential role Felix Neck plays in bringing to all of us on Martha's Vineyard an awareness of the beauty that surrounds us and an awareness of our responsibility to respect and protect it. You can only care and protect it if you know it is there. The critical role the Felix Neck staff plays in environmental education and awareness cannot be overstated—it is magic and it is hope. That is what the 50th celebration is all about.

Felix Neck is grateful for all the volunteers that help out at the wildlife sanctuary.