Volunteering Matters: Apshawa Preserve for NJCF

DenaJuly 20, 2010
Butler Resevoir, Apshawa Preserve

Preface: Volunteering Matters is an ongoing series. In this series, I share photographs & thoughts regarding my favourite volunteer projects.

Volunteering is an important part of my life. I’m always looking for ways to volunteer my time & energy to good causes. Because I am such a passionate person, my interests spread far & wide. While it can be difficult to manage multiple careers, it’s a lot easier to take advantage of numerous volunteer opportunities. Volunteer opportunities are especially attractive to me when they are ad-hoc (short, one-time, noncommittal) opportunities to contribute and make an impact.

There are so many reasons why volunteering is a great idea.

Perhaps the first and biggest benefit people get from volunteering is the satisfaction of incorporating service into their lives and making a difference in their community and country. The intangible benefits alone—such as pride, satisfaction and accomplishment—are worthwhile reasons to serve. In addition, when we share our time and talents, we:

Conservation is also an extremely important part of my life. I am intensely passionate about the preservation of Earth’s wildlife and natural environment.

Butler Reservoir, Apshawa Preserve

In June, I started working with New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF). NJCF’s mission is to preserve New Jersey’s land and natural resources for the benefit of all. Since 1960, NJCF has protected over 120,000 acres of natural areas and farmland in New Jersey—from farms to forests to urban and suburban parks.

My first task as a volunteer for NJCF was to create a scavenger hunt for children at Apshawa Preserve. I was so excited about this project for a bunch of reasons. First, Apshawa Preserve is only a couple of miles away from my house. Second, this scavenger hunt will be posted to NJCF’s website for children & their families to download. What an amazing way to get children excited about going for a scenic hike & learning more about the natural world!

Wildflowers, Apshawa Preserve

One gorgeous Saturday morning, Matthew & I put on our hiking clothes, filled up our water bottles, put Bella (our pup) in the car, and headed to the preserve. The trails were really beautiful and I had so much fun taking photographs and scouting out items for the scavenger hunt.

Bella on the Trails

You can check out the rough drafts of my project: Scavenger Hunt Items and Trail Guide. This volunteer project meant so much to me. Not only was I out in the forest doing something that I adore (hiking), but it also gave me the opportunity to get more families out into the preserve, enjoying wildlife, and thinking about the importance of preserving New Jersey’s land for future generations.

What do you think about volunteering? Have you ever been a volunteer? Would you consider doing it in the future?

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