Hi I’m Linda and I’ve always been an avid hiker and backpacker. This past year I gave some serious thought about my passions and how to combine them with the outdoors. That led me to pivot into the world of conservation. I invite ya to think about what this means next time you’re outside. I know I never did. But have you ever considered how much work goes into building a trail? Or restoring wilderness areas? Or whether the plants are native or non?
Just some food for thought. I’m excited to be part of this community!!
Hi @Lindahikes - Welcome to the community. I love how I can feel your enthusiasm in your introduction!
These are such great questions. Thank you for bringing them to us. I worked in conservation before heading over to the outdoor industry myself and know that that work shifted the way I see just about everything!
There are many other members here in the community who enjoy thinking about, acting on, and sharing conservation efforts. We're excited that you have joined this space and will be a part of the conversations going forward! While we hope you take some time to roam around the site, there are a few conversations that stick out that you might find enjoyable to read or participate in:
Thanks so much for taking the time to introduce yourself and share these questions. We're happy to have you here!
Most National Park areas make good use of volunteers in all sorts of ways - everything from visitor contacts at the information desk to search and rescue. At Channel Islands National Park, I enjoyed thee efforts of volunteers who assisted in locating and mapping submerged shipwrecks, while other volunteers worked at exotic plant reduction (i.e., pulling weeds) and encouraging native, rare plant species. It was often a pretty good deal - my folks got a week long scuba cruise, saw some interesting stuff, performed challenging scuba dives, all of which would have cost a significant amount on a commercial cruise. And often you got to places well off the beaten path, virtually inaccessible to most visitors. I would urge you to contact a convenient park or monument to see what is available.
I don't know specifically about volunteerism in other agencies or park systems, but I suspect there are many similar opportunities. I have significant volunteer experience myself and I have found it to be significantly rewarding, usually far greater than I expected.
Hi @Lindahikes , and welcome!
I really like that you brought up conservation as a topic. And I couldn't agree with you more. Close to my home I have a few different conservation groups that preserve wildland and maintain trail systems. I've participated in several trail maintenance opportunities and fund-raisers with each of them, and I have to say that I get a great deal of satisfaction from contributing.
I would encourage everyone that enjoys their local outdoor spaces to look into what local conservation groups are around, and donate some of your time. These are typically lesser known groups than those that support state and national parks, but just as important.
Lesser known indeed. I had no idea what was happening in my neck of the woods until I started getting involved. I'm finding that these smallers orgs are the ones doing a lot of the heavy lifting for the Forest Service. USDA just doesn't have the funds these days so its extremely important IMO to support, volunteer and most importantly learn about what's happening.