The Year of the Volunteer

March 2, 2018

In 1983, a group of dedicated volunteers decided to donate their time to the cause of conserving land for tomorrow in the rapidly growing Triangle. Today, their initial investment has grown into 35 years of high quality conservation work, over 18,000 acres of permanently protected land, and 7 public nature preserves with over 30 miles of trails.

Today we have 9 ongoing volunteer programs that help us to maintain and steward the land in our care, build new trails, connect people with nature, and tackle office tasks. Last fiscal year over 270 people donated 2,493 hours of service to TLC, an 800 hour increase from the year before! Some of these volunteers came out with their company or organization for an event like MLK Day of Service, others helped us to put on an event like Wild Ideas, Andrea Laine led hikes at Horton Grove Nature Preserve, Jack Blackmer gave public presentations to groups all over the Triangle, and Conservation Corps did the equivalent of $15,000 of trail work to get Brumley Nature Preserve open. When we asked for help, the response was overwhelming and we realized that perhaps we should ask more. Now, in our 35th anniversary year we are seeking to grow that spirit of giving back that started TLC and use it to help bring our work to the next level in what we have dubbed “The Year of the Volunteer!”

After four training sessions, three TLC staffers have begun the process for Triangle Land Conservancy to become a certified Service Enterprise! The Service Enterprise Initiative is a national initiative led by Points of Light that strengthens the capacity of nonprofits to fundamentally leverage volunteers and their skills to address community needs. Service Enterprises are organizations that deeply integrate volunteers through a comprehensive research-based assessment, training, consulting and certification model to successfully deliver on their missions. We are finishing up our action plans and have already put some exciting new developments into place including volunteer trainings, job descriptions, monthly e-newsletters, and research for volunteer tracking software.

Some of our next steps include:

  • Selecting and implementing tracking methods to be used for all programs
  • Hosting regular volunteer trainings
  • Publishing calls for specific volunteer jobs to support goals laid out in our strategic plan
  • Empowering and training volunteer captains to lead groups of other volunteers

As we embark on this year of the Volunteer you can expect some changes, and probably some growing pains, but we know that if volunteers can be the seed that sprouts 35 years of conservation work, you can help us get through the next 35 years too!

Would you like to be a part of the action? Sign up to receive our volunteer emails by filling out this form. We’re creating new opportunities every month and we need you to help us fill them!

Want to get started right away? Sign up for Walnut Wednesday on March 7th Trail Crew on March 10th or come to the office on March 14th to help with the very first Thank-a-Thon!

Our newly trained hike leaders will be launching our “First Saturday Walks” starting in March! Get outside on a TLC preserve the first Saturday of every month and discover what some of your local nature loving neighbors have to share!

Find a TLC Nature Preserve Near You