EARTH SANGHA | VOLUNTEERING: REDISCOVER YOURSELF OUTDOORS
If you live in the DC area and would like to get involved in conservation, we want to hear from you. We could really use your help, and you could make a big difference to the remaining natural places of this region.
If your company is looking for employee volunteer venues, or outdoor team-building activities, please get in touch with us. We have experience working with large numbers of people in the field, and we would be happy to help you plan an event that will benefit local parkland.
We work with over 500 volunteers every year, and these people are crucial to just about everything that we do in the DC area. Volunteers help run our Wild Plant Nursery, which is this region’s largest local-ecotype native-plant propagation program. On our field sites, volunteers help restore degraded forest and meadow, replant stream buffers, and, increasingly, help collect field information.
Apart from the note-taking functions, our volunteer work is manual. On our field sites, we plant, remove invasive alien vegetation, collect seed, occasionally haul things around (sample things: stone, mulch, invasive slash, logs), and sometimes we do a little light construction. At the nursery, we transplant seedlings, water, weed, move even more stuff around, and do a lot more light construction.
Some of our volunteers have relevant expertise; others come out with nothing more than an interest in nature. We need people from both ends of that spectrum and every point in between. And we are looking for people of just about every age, including children. Tree-hugging kids are one of the best forms of collective life-insurance that our society is ever likely to devise.
Most of our volunteers work on an informal basis. We do make special arrangements with some of our regulars, but most volunteers just show up when it suits them—whether that’s once a week or once every couple of months. So whether you have a serious interest in the local ecology, or just want to get outdoors, we can put your time to very good use.
Here’s how to follow up. First, get a sense for our current agenda by looking at our DC-area field schedule. If you like what you see, contact Lisa Bright, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (703) 764-4830. Lisa can give you the latest word on our plans. (We try to keep our field schedule current, but last-minute changes are pretty common.) Lisa can also answer—or at least discuss—any questions that you might have.
We hope to see you in the field sometime soon!
People come out to our field sites—and keep coming out—for all sorts of reasons. Here are five slightly overlapping ways of describing what’s on offer out there. Field work is:
1. Your other, bigger world. We all live in two worlds simultaneously. We live in the world that we ourselves have built—the world of houses, roads, and shopping malls. And we live in the natural world—the world of forests, meadows, and rivers. We live in that natural world even if we never go out into a park, because the natural world is the basis for all of our building. It is also a far larger world than our own, but most of us know next to nothing about it. Come out and introduce yourself.
2. A chance to confront important problems that you can help solve. It is sometimes difficult to resist the idea that environmental work is pointless because environmental problems are just too big and complicated to solve. But that kind of thinking belies the richness of nature: even though we cannot save everything, the things that we can save are such treasures that it would be crazy just to let them go. Environmental pessimism also tends to assume that we know more than we really do. We may think that something is beyond hope when, in fact, it’s not. Our local parks are home to many very serious—but solvable—problems. We’ll show you.
3. Experience as an end in itself. Human beings are creatures of the Great Outdoors; we are somehow more complete when we are outside on a regular basis. The denatured routine of house, car, office, supermarket, and mall tends to reduce us to something less than we ought to be. We don’t just exist to make money and buy stuff. Some things are best experienced on their own terms. The landscape in which we live is one of those things, although that may not be obvious until you try it.
4. Your own two hands. Probably no need to elaborate on this one. You get it!
5. Other volunteers. Volunteering is a great way to meet interesting people in a setting that isn’t forced. Out in the field, nobody has anything special to prove. Socializing just flows naturally from the work itself.
If you would like to come out sometime soon, check our DC-area field schedule to see what we’re up to.
If you want volunteer updates emailed to you, sign up for Lisa’s List.
If you have questions or are coming out for the first time, email Lisa, at email@example.com, or call her at (703) 764-4830.
To read about some volunteer events, look at the News page.
To get a sense for what our long-term projects are like, look at the Wild Plant Nursery page, or any of the site pages in the main menu, under DC-Area—for example, the Meadowood, Native Arboretum, or the Stream Buffer pages.