It continually amazes me to see the number of volunteers that perform work for the Department. Almost monthly we see another person being recognized for volunteer hours. This is an area we promote to get more people involved in conservation activities. You might have also seen in the Conservationist that there is a focus on involving youngsters in the outdoors. When possible, I too try to get out from behind the desk to participate in these areas—especially if I can do both at the same time.
My stepson, Rob, has been in Scouts since the first grade. I have been right there with him—den meetings, camp outs, merit badges and now an Eagle Scout project. Rob is an outdoorsman. He loves to hunt and fish. When it came to determining a project, he wanted to give something back to the outdoors he loves. I told him I would be glad to help. It began with a phone call to Runge Nature Center Manager Kathy Cavender to see if there were any projects that might need to be done on the area.
Rob set up a time to meet with Kathy, went over a couple of projects she had in mind and chose to clean out the underbrush from a 100-year-old oak and a neighboring tree. The work would help to prolong the life of the tree. Rob worked with Doug Starke, the grounds supervisor to plan the details of the work. He then enlisted several of his friends and relatives to help. He had to make sure that not only did he have the people to do the work, but also the equipment and tools that were needed.
On a beautiful Saturday in November we met at Runge with chainsaws in hand. Being outside was refreshing, the work was challenging and the next day was a little painful (remember the “behind the desk” statement). The special part of the day was that besides the buddies Rob had wrangled into helping, his grandfather, mother, sister and an uncle were there to help—three generations working side by side to assist nature.
By the time you read this note, the last phase of the project should be done. The Runge grounds crew chipped up the trees and bushes we cut down. This mulch will be used other places on the grounds. Rob and a new crew of help will plant native plants under the trees to help sustain the area. What he has done will be used as a model for others to use to help give these beautiful old trees extended life.
The week of April 19–25 is National Volunteer Week. Without volunteers many important things would go undone. We are thankful for all our volunteers and are always looking for more folks to help. If you are interested in becoming involved as a volunteer, visit the link listed below.
Carter Campbell, administrative services division chief
Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/Editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler