Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Prairie Volunteering is . . . Opportunity

One of the best ways to learn about prairies is to volunteer at a prairie work day. The more experienced volunteers will tell you about the plants and animals and how the prairie works and the specific natural history and human history of your local prairies and you can ask questions as you work. Can you find a prairie and a volunteer group near where you live? Here in Illinois, there is the West Chicago Prairie and their Prairie Stewardship group, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory holds seed gathering and other work days, Garfield Farm Museum leads volunteer restoration efforts, Wolf Road Prairie is restored and maintained by volunteers, and the local forest preserve districts of each county have work days and various forms of volunteer crews. I have never worked on a volunteer crew or been part of a volunteer effort that did not teach me something. I have also lead such efforts, from work days to tours, and I have never been involved in one as a leader that I did not learn from. Other participants know bits and pieces that I do not know or have made observations that help fill in my picture or ask questions that make me go read about it or observe it in a new way. I have never failed to learn from a work day or tour on the prairie as a volunteer and that is why I call them opportunities. Can you find an opportunity to volunteer at a prairie near you? You will benefit the environment and you will benefit other people who will enjoy and learn from that environment, but I am pretty sure you will get out of it far more than you will give to it!
My brilliant and eager and cheerful and knowledgeable fellow tour guides at Garfield Farm Museum Harvest Day in October 2007. Join us in October 2008. for schedule of events.

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