The professional staff at the George Washington Carver National Monument are the first to say that Carver Day would not be possible without volunteers.
Tim Danner is one of many volunteers who give visitors a great experience at the park. Danner is a member of the Chert Glades Master Naturalists and his speciality at Carver Day is showing a collection of furs. His favorite talking point with the public is showing the difference between a coyote and a wolf. When he holds up a coyote hide beside a wolf hide, most visitors merely gasp as they see how much bigger a wolf hide is compared to a coyote hide.
Danner explains that the coyote is common in Southwest Missouri, but the wolf is not seen (or at best rarely seen) here.
He also likes to show a black bear pelt, and is happy to say that bears are making a comeback in Missouri, migrating from Arkansas. He notes several sightings in McDonald County.
A resident of Joplin, Danner is a retired school teacher, who taught all the sciences. He spent his last two years in education at Diamond Schools where he got better acquainted with the Carver Monument and got outdoors more often.
He has always enjoyed the outdoor life. Between the ages of 3-14, Danner lived east of San Diego, Calif. While there, he was in a Boy Scout troop, and the scouts had many places to go for adventures and get secure merit badges.
“We had the ocean, the mountains and the desert,” Danner said. “So it was an exciting time and place to be outdoors.”
Danner got into teaching and, especially into science, because of a high school science teacher. That teacher changed his life by leading him to a career he loved. His says his volunteer hours are just an extension of his teaching career. Now that he is retired, he loves “teaching” visitors at the Carver Monument.
Once he got involved as a volunteer at Carver, he worked for two years as a VIP (Volunteer in the Park) which was fun and interesting. He got to spend longer times working directly with the Carver staff, which he calls “wonderful.”
Asked what he thinks of Carver Day, Danner said, “It’s not summer without Carver Day.”
And that’s why Tim Danner is this week’s good neighbor.