Henry David Thoreau once said “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life”. I find this interesting coming from a man who wrote a book about simple living and embracing your surroundings. Wealth may open more doors, but I think embracing your surroundings and your community is fully experiencing life…..and Spring is the perfect time to do it!
March 20th marked the first day of Spring.The always welcomed transition between Winter and Summer. The days get longer, the sun a little warmer and we can swap our parka for our rain-boots. What better way to get some much-needed Vitamin D and embrace your surroundings than to volunteer! Volunteering is not only a great way to give back to your community, but it’s also a cheap way to have fun and experience something new.
Nearby Nature is a great place that always needs volunteers (check theirwebsite for more info). If you are unfamiliar, Nearby Nature is a non-profit education organization established in 1992 that hosts school programs and summer camps, leads nature walks and keeps Alton Baker park looking so nice (they can’t do anything about the goose poop..sorry). Volunteers can lead nature walks, help with classroom visits and day-camps, build garden beds, pull ivy, paint murals, plant trees, post flyers, take pictures, do litter patrol, help with fundraisers….you name it! You can even dress up like a turtle or frog…..you know you want to.
Mt. Pisgah Arboretum is a well-known hiking spot for locals. Did you know that it was originally established as an international arboretum to feature trees from around the world? Me either. The arboretum boasts an impressive 7 miles of all-weather trails, 23 bridges and 209 acres of diverse ecological habitats. All of which need caring for year round. If you are an avid weekend hiker/visitor of Mt. Pisgah, consider spending some of that time as a volunteer. They host weekend work parties and are always looking for help. Take a look at their website for more info.
Willamalane Parks and Recreation is in Springfield, but their reach extends far beyond. Willamalane operates and maintains such facilities as Splash!, Wildish Community Theater as well as 19 sports fields, 21 playgrounds, nine waterfront areas, and 11 miles of hiking and biking trails. They offer hundreds of recreation programs to kids, teens, adults and seniors in our community and rely heavily on volunteer support. Willamalane has so many volunteer positions available, they are too many to list. Read more on theirwebsite’s volunteer page.
If good karma and new experiences aren’t reward enough, some organizations thank volunteers with perks. TheScience Factory for instance gives those that volunteer regularly a Museum membership (Supporting Membership is $150) and free t-shirt. That is on top of the satisfaction you’ll find as you are engaging and inspiring young minds. Various volunteer opportunities are available depending on your skill level and time commitment, they are listed on the Science Factory website.
These are just a few places where you can volunteer your time. There are many more volunteer opportunities available in the Eugene/Springfield area. Next time you visit your favorite local park, library or non-profit, take a minute to ask about volunteering. Whether you do it for the free t-shirts, the sense of community or because you’ve always wanted to dress up in a frog costume……your community (and wallet) will thank you!
622 Day Island Road
Eugene, OR 97401
Mount Pisgah Arboretum
34901 Frank Parrish Rd.
Eugene, OR 97405
Willamalane Parks & Rec Adult Activity Center
215 West C Street
Springfield, OR 97477
The Science Factory
2300 Leo Harris Parkway
Eugene, Oregon 97401