Being a DLC Volunteer
Have you ever been standing in a forest surrounded by tall evergreens that touch the sky? You smell the sweet dampness of the pine needles and the greenery underfoot. You hear the melodic chirp of a robin that sounds a bit like, “cheer up.” You see patches of yellow and white and purple wildflowers dispersed randomly along the green forest floor. Being a volunteer for Douglas Land Conservancy (DLC) affords me the opportunity to enjoy many moments like these.
One of the things I have the opportunity to do as a DLC volunteer is to take people on hikes to places like this and watch the wonder of the place reflect magically in their eyes. It’s fun to tell people a Mother Earth fable about how fawns got their spots or how rabbits got their fluffy cotton-tails. And it’s a great opportunity to talk to people a bit about the importance of staying on trails to avoid erosion, or talk about the importance of respecting wildlife boundaries.
DLC protects open space land areas by using conservation easements that guarantee the land won’t be negatively developed and will permanently protect its conservation value. They protect the natural value of the land for now and for future generations. Their mission for protecting land and my love of nature go hand-in-hand.
I’ve led a variety of hikes, greeted and/or checked-in people at different functions, talked about wildlife at special events, assisted Plein Air artists, and helped to train other volunteers. I love nature and the outdoors and volunteering with DLC is a good fit for me. I’ve developed skills and learned new ones. I’ve added to my “nature database.” I’ve also met some wonderful new friends and have connected with people who share my love of nature. I’ve been exposed to opportunities that have increased my knowledge and understanding.
In these crazy times of Covid-19, I miss leading hikes and volunteering at DLC functions, but it’s just temporary until the virus is under control and a thing of history. The relationships I’ve established with other DLC volunteers have continued “online” through the pandemic, providing support and reducing stress.
I receive a lot of intrinsic value from volunteering. I feel like I am giving back to the community I live in and hopefully make a difference for the good in the lives of others. For me, volunteering is definitely a win-win situation.
Cathy Fischer is a volunteer naturalist for Douglas Land Conservancy, Douglas County Open Space, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. She is a certified Interpretive Guide and a Native Plant Master. She has lived in Douglas County for 29 years and loves sharing her appreciation of nature through public hikes and programs.