Volunteer Spotlight: Susan Straight

Susan Straight

Two things that come to mind when I think of Susan Straight: a sense of wonder and an enthusiasm of the natural world. 

She related well to all of us at Felix Neck, “I love being able to talk about lobsters molting and be met with the same enthusiasm, instead of watching people’s eyes glaze over.” A frequent visitor to the Sanctuary, Susan drops in to share new facts and materials she’s found on the beaches and also to inquire about something she is unfamiliar with. “I love working and talking with the staff at Felix Neck as we share the same passions in the natural world around us. Sharing our knowledge is such an incredible learning experience and delight.”

While new to volunteering with Felix Neck, Susan is no stranger to the sanctuary. Her children spent a lot of time here when they were young, enjoying our Seashore Discovery program. Last fall, Susan was working with a Hospice organization in New York and needed a change, so she decided to get more involved with her greatest passion— to discover and learn more about the natural world. 

Susan has experience teaching nature to children as she used to bring nature programs to the schools in Trumansburg, NY where she lives when she is not on island. While she misses her friends in NY, she is determined to stay on island, as she enjoyed her first winter in Chilmark so much.  Susan has been particularly excited about all of the beautiful diversity the island has to offer—beaches, woodlands, shorelines, “There are so many treasures to be seen.” 

Living on the island has allowed Susan to really dive into her naturalist instinct and has expanded her knowledge and skill sets, “each question I answer leads to ten more questions I have." Whether she’s inquiring about otters courting, fig sponge or hooded mergansers, Susan continues researching until she has found what she’s looking for.

Most recently, Susan has been focusing on skull and bone identification. She’s helped tremendously with the large amount of mystery bones Felix Neck has collected or had been donated over the years. Bringing bags of bones home to work on, we are now able to use them for school programs and much more! Her passion and interest became so strong that Susan helped to organize a program at the Sanctuary. The Skull and Bone Identification Workshop was led by Richard Wolniewicz of Mass Audubon’s Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. 

Susan’s favorite part about volunteering with Felix Neck is “finding a community of people with shared passions; where conservation and education are such an important priority.” All of us at Felix Neck have equally enjoyed her passion, enthusiasm and interest in the natural world and in Mass Audubon. We are lucky to have her!