Power of the People

Here at Whatcom Land Trust we take the month of March to be especially grateful for all the volunteers that make what we do here possible. From everyone who shows up to work parties even when it’s cold and rainy to our Volunteer Land Stewards to the people who help make sure our office and events run smoothly, volunteers are with us every step of the way.

Every year the Land Trust protects more and more land, which is a great thing! However, this also means more land to maintain and steward. With only two staff in our Stewardship department, keeping up with the over 5,000 acres of property the Land Trust owns would be impossible. In 2019 alone our over 700 volunteers put in more than 5,000 hours of their time. The work they do is tremendous and allows us to keep growing and making an even bigger impact on this beautiful place.

People find their way to the Land Trust in all kinds of ways. Our current Stewardship Intern, Danielle Taylor, learned about Whatcom Land Trust and its mission after our previous Executive Director Rich Bowers was asked to speak in her Environmental Disturbances class at Western Washington University. Excited by what she had heard she searched the Land Trust out at a WWU internship fair, wanting to get involved. Her first day with the organization was spent wading through a muddy cornfield in nearly a foot of standing water looking for the boundary markers of the property, but she wasn’t discouraged. Danielle has been coming to Whatcom County her whole life to fish, and feels a personal connection to this land.  “I think of myself as a lorax,” Danielle says of her motivations, “I want to fight for everything that doesn’t have a voice the way I do.”.

As it turns out, Danielle wasn’t the only one who’s interest was sparked that day in class. Her professor Stephen Zylstra who invited Bowers to speak in his class, was struck by the message and goals of Whatcom Land Trust as well. He is signed up to be a part of the Land Trust’s Volunteer Land Steward program, and is now helping us monitor and steward the Ladies of the Lake property. Our Volunteer Land Steward family has continued to grow and flourish. Last year in March there were 90 volunteer land stewards, this year there are 120-an over 30% increase in the program.

People come to us in all sorts of different ways, but the common thread that ties them all together is a deep love of this land and the passion and drive to protect it. Getting out on the land and getting your hands dirty is a satisfying feeling that brings you closer to the place we all call home, and the community that strives to protect it. People like Danielle and her professor and all of our many volunteers who believe in the core values that drive Whatcom Land Trust forward are what make us so successful, and for that, thank you!

Learn more about ways to get involved with Whatcom Land Trust here!

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