Ralph Tarquino of Hawthorn Woods talks about what it's like to be a volunteer with Citizens for Conservation:
Q: Did you sign up in honor of someone?
A: I started volunteering to spend time with my high school daughter, who was volunteering. It was a wonderful time of sharing and learning together. When she left for school, I just kept volunteering because I found it so rewarding.
Q: What have you learned about yourself?
A: How invigorating and satisfying it is to help make a difference while being surrounded by other people who care.
Q: What support have you received?
A: CFC is unique in its collaboration with other major conservation groups. It is wonderful to share ideas, knowledge and vision with major experts in conservation. I came from the corporate world, where groups don't easily work collaboratively. CFC is totally different, with strong partnerships, an inclusive culture, collaborative planning, and sharing of resources.
Q: Is there an example you can share of what the experience has been like?
A: One example is our annual BMO-Harris workdays. BMO-Harris employees from across the region come for a day of experiencing and helping nature, such as planting sedge plugs. People return for the positive experience it provides -- it's a win/win for them and nature.
Q: What would you tell someone who is interested in participating but might be hesitant?
A: CFC has a variety of opportunities … it's not just all about restoration. We have seed beds of rare native plants that need watering and tending, office and internet work, youth and adult education classes, project management, wildlife and plant monitoring, informative nature articles to write, resident landscape consultations, photography and videography opportunities. Get involved -- you'll get more in return than you give.