Volunteer Spotlight: Marlen Kemmet

By Rowan McMullen Cheng on August 1, 2019 in Blog

mobile wildlife observatory

Thanks to Marlen Kemmet, an Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) volunteer, an 18-foot cargo trailer was converted into the recently opened Mobile Wildlife Observatory in Hardin County. The Mobile Wildlife Observatory is owned and managed by the Hardin County Conservation Board, which periodically moves the trailer to different locations on the parks and trails they manage. The observatory provides year-round access to the outdoors by offering shelter from the natural elements without compromising wonderful views or the surrounding natural symphony. 

The observatory isn’t the only impact Kemmet has made volunteering with INHF. In almost three years, Kemmet has racked up over 200 volunteer hours, not including the countless hours he worked on the  Mobile Wildlife Observatory.

“I like volunteering in that it gives me a way to give back to the conservation community,” Kemmet said. “After moving to Iowa, I realized how much of the land had been converted to farming with little regard to wildlife. I hope that my efforts support and further conservation in Iowa.”

photographer in camo in snow

Kemmet enjoys helping staff members with woodworking and in-office tasks such as preparing staff educational materials and editing booklets, but his real passion is lending a hand outdoors or at events with his camera.

Kemmet draws on his background in photography to patiently wait for the perfect wildlife shot and to capture all the hard work volunteers can accomplish together. Kemmet has been to more than 30 INHF and partner events, mostly in central Iowa, including INHF’s recent Central Iowa 40th Anniversary Celebration.

fisherman with fish

“I feel very fortunate that my lifetime in print and digital media as well as project development provided me with the skill sets to tackle several volunteer projects at INHF with little training,” Kemmet said. “It was great to jump right into a project and create tangible results early on. Simply put, I like to accomplish things and I find it rewarding that these projects benefit others.”