Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) Danielle Nystrom has been selected as the new chair of Rotary Winter Wonderland for its 14th season.
Danielle has volunteered for the project since it began and is a longtime member of the board, serving as a volunteer coordinator and organizing events such as the Gingerbread Jamz live music series. As the chair of Rotary Winter Wonderland, she will oversee the various committees and be involved in additional aspects of the operation.
Ben Lee, a chairperson himself for two years and a current member of the Steering Committee, nominated Nystrom for the position.
“I met Danielle during the very first year of Winter Wonderland when she would come to the park to help set up, and also help on the nights collecting food. Over the years, we would see her help out more and more,” he said. “She has put her heart into this project for so many years, and I can think of no one more deserving to be the next chair of the project. Honestly, it was a very easy choice to nominate Danielle to be the next chair, and I know the project will be in very good hands.”
Danielle is active in the organization with her father, Al Nystrom, who manages the project’s finances, fundraising, and park operations, and is a member of the Steering Committee.
“Danielle started decorating trees as a 14 year-old and it wasn’t long before her leadership skills started to emerge,” he said. “She started supervising volunteers during setup and operations throughout her high school years. Since then, she has managed special events, volunteer recruitment, and many aspects of our operations. She is a near daily presence at the zoo during our season.”
The project has brought together three generations of the family for a common cause.
“Sharing this experience with my parents, wife Amy, and children as volunteers, has brought extra joy and Christmas spirit to our family,” Al said. “Rotary Winter Wonderland has certainly created an extra bond between Danielle and myself as we became partners in such a wonderful project. Each season is filled with memories and moments that we’ll never forget.”
Now that the project is heading into its 14th season, Danielle hopes more people will get involved in leadership positions to help share new ideas and perspectives. “Every year it seems to get better and better, so continuing that trend and making sure we get enough people to help us, and then also visitors to come through,” she said.
Volunteers strive to change up the display each year to attract visitors. Once completed this fall, the cougar exhibit and welcome center at Wildwood Zoo will present opportunities for new lighting designs.
Though Rotary Winter Wonderland only runs from Thanksgiving weekend to the final night of the year, organizing it is a year-round effort. “There are opportunities to help us in the off-season too,” said Danielle. “It’s a continuous project and that’s why the more people we can get involved, the better.”
Those interested in volunteering for Rotary Winter Wonderland can contact the Facebook page or email [email protected]