I feel as though I should start out with, I am sorry Elizabeth, you are going to hate this, but we are doing it anyways. Elizabeth has dedicated over 10 years of hard work to this sanctuary and she deserves a shout out to say the least. Words can’t express the amount of love we have for Elizabeth, so here goes this blog anyways! As many of you followers may know, our wonderful and amazing Elizabeth received a full time job on her new career path to becoming a librarian. We are fortunate enough that Elizabeth is not leaving! She will still be volunteering, and honestly thank goodness! I don’t think any of us could handle not seeing her!
Anyone who has been around Elizabeth feels lucky to know her. Each one of us staff members have written a little note to Elizabeth. We also have included a video of Elizabeth playing with the chimps because of all her years volunteering and working at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, she has managed to stay out of almost all of photos. If you know Elizabeth, that sounds just like her. But again I am sorry Elizabeth, because I did find a few photos and they will be on this blog!
So here it goes:
“CSNW would not be what it is today without Elizabeth – she was a volunteer in the earliest days during the construction of the sanctuary, she became one of the first volunteers to help care for the chimps after their arrival, she then went on to become the longest-serving caregiver on staff, and – most importantly – she is and will always be one of the chimpanzees’ closest and dearest friends. We humans are fortunate to call her a friend, too, and we wish her the best of luck in her new career!” – J.B.
“For as long as I’ve known Elizabeth, she’s been a calm and caring presence at Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW. She kept the volunteer program in tip top shape at the sanctuary and is a great teacher and leader. I’m so relieved she is sticking around as a volunteer because saying goodbye to her would be the worst!” -Anna
“Elizabeth was our longest-serving caregiver, starting as a volunteer when the sanctuary was brand new and we were all still figuring things out. Her organizational skills stood out right away in those early days. I would turn around and the sprawling and unruly enrichment would suddenly be neatly put into labeled bins, thanks to Elizabeth going the extra mile on her volunteer shifts. She was the perfect person to lead our budding volunteer initiative; she took it from a bare-bones outline to a thriving, well-executed program. The sanctuary wouldn’t be able to do everything that we do for the chimpanzees if it were not for volunteers, and Elizabeth is responsible for bringing so many great people into all of our lives and helping the sanctuary expand and do more. She also added her own touches to the program that helped volunteers and staff continue to learn about primates and become more engaged in the big picture of what Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest does. I have no doubt that her keen organizational abilities and people-management will translate quite well into her new career in library work. The chimpanzees, perhaps Burrito in particular, is very pleased that she is sticking around as a volunteer. He will have many more games of tug-of-war with one of his all-time favorite people, and we will continue to benefit from Elizabeth’s ability to whip things into shape on days that might otherwise be less than orderly.” – Diana
“It takes courage to leave one’s chosen path, especially a path one is emotionally connected to, to pursue a new one. To make all the life changes, tune out the squall of uncertainty that’s always there storming and brewing in the back of your head takes a wild leap of faith. I always celebrate seeing people take such leaps. Elizabeth’s years of dedication made a lasting difference for the chimpanzees and the sanctuary. And it’s also true that Elizabeth was born to be a librarian. She’s a champion of the book through and through. The book, ink on paper, scent of the pages, that you hold in your hand and hug tight to your chest and cherish the difference it makes in your heart and your life. And these days, the book, and all those who need them, deserve such a champion. So in the words of Matilda (via Roald Dahl), “Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…” -Katelyn
“Elizabeth was such a great person for me to train with at the sanctuary, I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with her and get to know her! I remember first meeting with her in the trailer/clinic/break room as I was embarking on “official” chimp interaction training. She helped teach me all about chimp interaction protocol and was endlessly patient and encouraging along my learning curve and with my ever shifting work and family schedule. I’m so happy for Elizabeth that she is pursuing her career goals in library science, she will be a huge asset to the program. Her smile and quick wit are very missed at the sanctuary but I’m thankful she is staying involved as a volunteer and hope I am lucky enough to catch her there often!” -Erin
“When I first got involved with CSNW as a student intern, Elizabeth was the person who made me feel welcomed, valued, and comfortable as I learned about the sanctuary and the chimps. Her lighthearted and friendly personality made her a great person to engage with and organize volunteers, and she has enriched all of our experiences through her dedicated service as a volunteer coordinator and caregiver. Most of all, her knowledge of and love for the chimpanzees is inspiring and I am glad they will still have her in their social circle. I am honored to call her a mentor, colleague and friend, and I am excited to continue working alongside her at the sanctuary!” -Anthony
“I am fortunate to be able to call Elizabeth a mentor and a friend. If you have ever been lucky enough to be around Elizabeth, you know how kind, funny, & hard working she is, but most importantly how great of a teacher she is. Elizabeth was amazing at showing volunteers compassion for the chimps. Teaching people how to put the chimps’ needs before your own. She is a wealth of knowledge and is irreplaceable. Elizabeth truly has the best of both worlds, exploring her passion in all things books and being able to continue her work with chimps. We are excited for you and support you!” – Kelsi
Also Jody this morning (just had to share):