Volunteer Highlight: Doug Otopalik

“I believe volunteer work is a civic duty – something that we should all do.”

Lives in: Sturgeon Bay

Profession: Retired dentist

Number of years in Door County: Five

Started volunteering: I’ve been a lifelong volunteer. I started volunteering locally as soon as I moved here.

Area of interest: Environmental education

Volunteer accomplishments: Stream monitoring, invasive-species control, tree planting and trail maintenance. I’m also a cross-country ski-trail groomer at Whitefish Dunes, and I formed the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources–recognized Ambassadors program with Friends of Whitefish Dunes State Park and park staff. 

Why he began volunteering, and why he continues: To be outdoors during retirement and make a difference. I continue because I believe volunteer work is a civic duty – something that we should all do. I think everyone has an opportunity to do something here. It’s just a matter of going out and finding what works for you.

What he’s gained from volunteering: A deeper connection with nature, which I credit for getting me through the pandemic and fostering better mental wellness.

Favorite volunteering moment: Seeing the diversity of volunteers during a Big Plant event. People from different backgrounds coming together over a common goal.

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