Winter Experience #3 – Making it Real

For the past 14 months, I’ve been writing and sharing  tidbits about Nature with you. I’ve shared meditations, ways to connect, some of my own experiences, some discoveries, and even some stories I’ve written. It occurs to me I have not shared some of the ways you can experience nature personnally – as a volunteer. Today’s blog is devoted to the topic of ‘making it real’ – as a volunteer.

You don’t have to know everything about nature to be a nature volunteer  – actually, that’s why a person volunteers – to learn more. There isn’t a day spent as a volunteer in a natural setting that I haven’t learned more about the habitat and the inhabitants of that place. And as a result, I feel even more connected to nature than before. 

Today’s post includes listings of ways you can volunteer for nature, and possible places you can volunteer. Look through these lists and see what might work for you in the coming year. Hopefully, you’ll find something that intrigues you, and begin to be able to make your connection to nature more real!

Ways you can volunteer:

  • park cleanup/litter patrol

  • greeter at a nature center

  • traveling exhibit assistant

  • traveling exhibit scheduler

  • program presenter (at the nature center, at a school or library, for a club)

  • school liaison

  • volunteer trail guide

  • trail maintenance crew

  • nature craft volunteer

  • volunteer for a butterfly or bird count (no experience required!)

  • be a nature mentor for an elementary school, or start a nature club

  • be a nature ‘reader’ at a school or local library

Places you can volunteer (Note: I live in northeastern Oklahoma, as do many of my readers, I’ve listed examples on many of these suggestions which apply to the Tulsa area. Check your local phone book or library for similar sites near you.):

  • Your neighborhood parks – (Does your neighborhood have a designated play/park area? Check with your neighborhood association.)

  • Your city parks (Check with your city or county parks department for a list of locations and needs. Tulsa has a Tulsa Park Department, Tulsa County Parks)

  • Your area trail associations (Tulsa River Parks)

  • Your area nature centers (Tulsa has Oxley Nature Center at Tulsa’s Mohawk Park)

  • Your area zoos (Tulsa Zoo at Mohawk Park)

  • Your nearby state parks (Keystone State Park is the closest – but there are so many!)

  • Your nearby national parks (We have a National Recreation Area at Sulphur, OK)

  • Your local schools (Check with the Public Schools office for how you could be a nature mentor or start a nature club at your neighborhood school)

  • Your local universities (Tulsa Community College, Tulsa Tech, Tulsa University, Oral Roberts University, and many satellite offices of universities like OU, OSU, St. Gregories, Northeastern State)

  • Your local libraries (check with your library system and set up a nature reading program for the summer)

As you can see – there are soo many opportunities – or make your own! You will be so blessed to see the light go on in someone else’s eyes as you share nature with them!
 (If you live in the Tulsa area, Oxley Nature Center needs volunteers for the year – Call 918-669-6644 or attend an information session at Oxley on February 13, from 10 to 12 or 1 to 3.)

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