Matt O'Neil

A volunteer who has quickly made an impact.

Matt O'Neil volunteer at Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary

Matt O’Neil, one of Stony Brook’s most active volunteers, is daring, adventuresome, resourceful, determined, inventive and helpful. In other words, he’s a perfect addition to our volunteer staff.

On the brink of a career change and looking to uncover a new direction while exploring his desire to learn more about nature, Matt came to Stony Brook to help in any way possible.  Jessica Watson remembers calling his references, as required of all new volunteers, and being impressed with the reports she received.  One reference, a boss who was sad to learn of Matt’s decision to leave, jokingly asked, “If I give him a poor reference will he stay here…please!?”

After coming on board in April, 2014, Matt has become one of a handful of volunteers to qualify for Mass Audubon’s reciprocity program and free admission to all area sanctuaries.  Always willing to tackle the sanctuary's most pressing projects, Matt has done everything from use his carpentry skills to assist in the construction of our new observation deck to designing and implementing creative solutions to storage problems. He’s helped clear fallen trees from our trails, served as an aide during Vacation Week, removed invasive plants from our grounds, built a light box for the turtle tank, and mounted display boxes in the Exploratorium. 

In short, Matt has become more than a volunteer to the staff. He has become a valuable source of advice and new ideas, as well as a team leader for others looking to serve. Most importantly, he’s become a good friend. His hard work and dedication are exceeded only by his optimism and generosity of spirit.