A Fulfilling Fall

By Melanie Schmidt on December 2, 2020 in Blog

“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
–Ruth Bader Ginsburg


As we say farewell to the month of November and head into December, the days get increasingly shorter and the weather continues to cool. For me, the past few months have brought a lot of reflection on this year as a whole. I look back to the uncertainty that spring and summer brought during the initial onset of the pandemic, and the many cancelled events we felt compelled to cancel. Now, as I plug away at entering data from over a dozen events we were able to hold this fall, I am overwhelmed with joy and relief to return to some form of normalcy in my job.

Fall brought a fulfilling and full calendar of opportunities for our volunteers. Communities were able to once again gather in nature with other conservation friends and partners. We took extra precautions to help ensure our attendees remained safe and healthy, implemented inclusive language to welcome all participants who attended INHF events and committed to taking action should anyone be made to feel unsafe or unwelcome by others. Ensuring a safe, respectful and inviting environment for volunteers continues to be at the forefront of these gatherings. Some of the observations I’ve made after hosting these events this fall included the amazing number of people that showed up to lend a hand (many events were at full capacity), and the respect everyone had for one another as we continue to navigate these uncertain times. The enjoyment and peace that people experienced being back on the land made me realize just how powerful these gatherings can be and are in these times.

It feels fitting that this month we also celebrate International Volunteer Day on December 5th. After all our state has been through, including an ongoing pandemic, the continued fight for social justice and a detrimental derecho, I have never been more proud to work alongside and represent such a self-less, hard working group of people. “Thank you” will never be enough to show my gratitude and appreciation for every single one of you that gives from the bottom of your heart. I look forward to this next season of the volunteer program as we continue to learn from one another and work together toward a common goal.

Warmest wishes to the months ahead and see you at the next event!