It has been 1 year since I first visited SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve. My husband and I had recently moved to Renton and I was looking for a way to get involved in the community. The Volunteer Match website let me select my interests and found a few opportunities very close to home. To my surprise, there was a Nature Preserve only 3 miles from my house. I let Isabelle know that I was interested and she invited me to visit the property.
When I arrived, it was fall and the colors are the first thing that hit me. The smell of the wet wood from those notorious Pacific Northwest rains reached into my nose. After a lovely chat in the office, we took my first bog tour! The Big Leaf Maples were turning gold and then brown. Everywhere I looked there was something to discover. The mushrooms were blooming but so much green was still present. The moss seemed to know so much, reminding me of its 5000-year age. I expected a fairy or gnome to be just around the curve of the boardwalk. In a word: it was magical.
Truth be told, I was slightly intimidated. I didn’t have the skills I thought that SHADOW needed. I didn’t know invasive vs. native plants. I didn’t know anything about conserving a peat bog. I cannot build wooden signs. It turns out, there is a place for everyone at SHADOW Nature Preserve. The only requirement is to be willing to give. They needed just as much help in the office with media, community outreach, and participant data entry as they did outdoors.
The nature invited me in, but the people had me coming back. Not only were they all incredibly knowledgeable but extremely welcoming. My first volunteer event was Halloween at the Haunted Peat Bog. I learned about spiders and mushrooms from Emily. Not only was I encouraged to learn and ask questions, but they also allowed me to create an activity by myself! Whatever I wanted to give, the staff, owners, and other volunteers welcomed my help.
A year later, I am working part-time at a non-profit. I get to spend my off days on a property that has grown to mean so much to me. I am on the SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve Development Committee where I get to share ideas for upcoming events with other volunteers and the owners of SHADOW. I am proud that I get to represent SHADOW at summer festivals. I hear so many wonderful stories that are like mine of people that came once to this 100-acre hidden gem and fell in love. A year later, when rounding that corner on the boardwalk getting into the older part of the peat bog, my breath still catches. I am incredibly lucky to add to SHADOW’s story.
Photo By: Humble Honey Photography
During November and December of 2018, every tax-deductible dollar that you donate to SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve will be matched. Please help us make the most of this exciting opportunity and find your place in SHADOW’s story!
From now until the end of 2018, your tax-deductible donation to SHADOW will be matched, dollar for dollar.
Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to DOUBLE your impact!