Volunteer Spotlight: Jim Waldron


The Wolf River Conservancy wishes to express its gratitude to Jim Waldron who has devoted many hours and resources to building and placing nest boxes for birds and bats along the Wolf River.  Jim is an expert builder of nest boxes, having built and installed hundreds over the years, and both his skills and his equipment have been invaluable in enhancing wildlife habitat. As a volunteer for WRC, he has assisted FedEx volunteers with service projects at the Lucius Burch trailhead in 2014 and, most recently, at Lovitt Woods on April 8th.   He and FedEx volunteers have constructed and installed a row of bluebird houses and two large bat boxes at Lovitt Woods.  At the Lucius Burch trailhead, there are now kestrel, owl, and bluebird houses in addition to bat boxes, purple martin gourds, and a chimney swift tower thanks to their efforts.  Jim also worked with kids to build and install nest boxes along the Wolf River Greenway as part of a Memphis Garden Club project in 2013.

Jim works tirelessly for many good causes - repairing kennels and fostering dogs for the Memphis Humane Society and visiting homebound elderly men and women for the sheriff's department, just to name two.  He likes putting into action what he believes in, which includes improving conditions for wildlife through native plant landscaping and providing homes for cavity nesters.  Thank you so much, Jim, for all you do!  Our world is a better place because of people like you!

Jim sent us the following information on his background and his many volunteer contributions:

"I am from a small town in Ohio near Cleveland. I moved to Memphis in 1961 with my parents following their job transfers to the area. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Memphis with dual majors in biology and education. I received a commission in the Navy and served 3 ½ years on active duty. Following separation from active duty I completed a Masters in Special Education and started teaching in special education. Subsequently I completed two advanced degrees with a Doctor of Education and a Masters of Social Work. Much of my professional career was serving as a school psychologist with the Memphis City Schools and providing counseling to families and individuals.

I volunteer in many ways including youth programs, community service organizations and several conservation groups. In support of my two children I was active in Boy Scouts and recreational soccer as a coach and referee. For many years I was active in Special Olympics on local and state levels. I am presently a community services volunteer with the sheriff’s department visiting elderly homebound men and women. I am a long-time volunteer with Lifeblood giving in excess of 73 gallons of whole blood and platelets. I represented Lifeblood as a torchbearer in the 1996 Olympic Torch Bearer Relay. I also received Volunteer of the Year awards from Shelby Farms Conservancy and the Memphis-Shelby County Humane Society. Subsequent to my return to Memphis in 1968 and my marriage to my wife of fifty years (Martha Waldron), I have maintained an active involvement with wildlife conservation groups, primarily building several hundred nest boxes for song birds and raptors. Numerous successful nests have been recorded over the last forty years including endangered Barn Owls and American Kestrels. Of late I have participated in WRC projects with FedEx constructing and erecting wildlife nest boxes along the Wolf River. I was involved in the seven year Eagle hacking project at Reelfoot Lake and the Peregrine Falcon hacking project in Memphis. I am an avid native plant landscaper and promote the use of native plants most favorable for a variety of bird life, butterflies and pollinators.

The above summary is not all inclusive but throughout the years of service I consider service to others and use one’s talents and resources as two primary motivators to immerse oneself in service. I believe that in giving of self you receive ten-fold in self-satisfaction of doing important and worthy projects. Volunteerism is a selfless, compassionate activity that helps sustain ongoing acts of kindness and that often enhances the quality of life for many living things. Often, volunteering is an act of agape love for Man and God’s creatures that does not necessarily promote the giver but assists the recipient(s) achieve a better circumstance. Often the volunteer is a mentor for others to emulate and therefore extend the initial effort over longer periods of time. It is not always convenient or easy to volunteer; consequently, a volunteer may have to deliberately set aside time to engage in a project or to work harder than expected to complete the task at hand. Why do I volunteer? I think I make a difference and I personally care about what I have volunteered to do."

   FedEx volunteers with one of Jim's bluebird houses.

Posted by Cathy Justis at 10:52 AM