Volunteer Spotlight: Mimi Briggs grows Shorebird Festival for 30 years and counting

Mimi Briggs, Event Coordinator for the Cordova Community Center. (Oct. 11, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times
Mimi Briggs, Event Coordinator for the Cordova Community Center. (Oct. 11, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Editor’s note: Cordova community events and programs run on volunteers. This is an ongoing series of Volunteer Spotlight Q&A’s in partnership with the Cordova Chamber of Commerce to honor those who give their time and efforts to better the community.


Mimi Briggs was volunteering in Cordova even before she officially moved to town. After being an integral part of the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival beginning, almost 30 years later, she’s still coordinating events here in Cordova with the Cordova Community Center. Briggs was recently honored for her decades of Service in Cordova’s Legislative Information Office, which provides access to legislators and opportunities to testify on proposed bills. 

Tell me about your volunteer work in Cordova.
I began volunteer work in Cordova in the mid 1980s before I moved to town. During visits to my friend, the Chamber president, I answered letters and phone calls and helped with activities for the Cordova Chamber of Commerce.  Once I moved, I continued volunteering for the Chamber and the Cordova Historical Museum. 

What do you do in Cordova now and what’s your professional background?
I work at the Cordova Historical Museum and am the events coordinator for the Cordova Community Center. 

What do you find most rewarding about volunteering?
I enjoy working with different people in a variety of jobs. Although with my current schedule my volunteerism consists of what I can do in my capacity as coordinator of the Community Center and the activities that take place on the premises.

What are some hobbies you enjoy in your free time?
Walking with my friends and reading.

How long have you lived in Cordova and where are you from?
I moved to Cordova in 1992. I was born and raised in Palm Springs, California. My mom was a Pharmacist and my dad was a chef. I volunteered helping them both especially my dad when he cooked for American Legion and Philippine/American gatherings.

Tell me a little bit about your role in the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival.
The Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival, established in 1990 by the US Forest Service, was originally a two-day workshop emphasizing research and networking. I started soon after I arrived in 1992 by helping the USFS create a program to be handed out to the visiting researchers. Soon after the USFS formed a partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and the Prince William Sound Science Center, and helped along by then Mayor Margy Johnson, a Shorebird Committee was created. Mayor Margy thought I would make good volunteer chair for the Food and Fun Faire! Over the years the position transitioned into the coordinator, some hours paid most volunteered. Visitors used to ask why I didn’t know so much about birds — I told them that if I were an avid birder, I would never have had time to coordinate.

You must be proud of how the festival has grown.
We may have had 10-15 people come to the first festival and today we’ve hosted hundreds. I find it very gratifying that the festival has grown and changed with the times for 30 seasons and with the help of continued volunteerism it will do so for many more years.

Volunteer

If you’d like to know more information on ways to volunteer in the community contact the Cordova Chamber of Commerce at 907-424-7260 or visit cordovachamber.com/volunteer.

Nominate someone for a future Volunteer Spotlight at spencerjaneb@gmail.com.


Jane Spencer is a freelance writer for the Cordova Times. She’s a seasonal resident of Cordova for over 15 years and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Environmental Studies. She received her Natural Chef certificate in Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts, in addition to dabbling as an oil painter and ceramic artist.