New Year’s resolution: Become a volunteer

December 10, 2012

Is volunteering for you?

Do you like being outdoors in a beautiful natural setting or would you like to spend some time in a garden?

Sequoia Riverlands Trust would love to have you as a volunteer at Kaweah Oaks Preserve or Dry Creek Preserve!

If you’re thinking about doing some volunteering in the New Year, here are some tips for finding that perfect volunteer spot.

1. Identify the causes you’re passionate about.

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(Kids at Kaweah Oaks Preserve)

Do you feel strongly about a particular problem or issue? Just to think, “Oh, well, volunteering would be a nice thing to do,” isn’t really enough. You might start, but will you stick with it? If you feel strongly about something, such as nature, open space, animals, homelessness or helping children, then that is a very good sign and the start of a great volunteer experience.

2. Determine how much time you have.

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(Nature guides showcasing preserve on walk)
Do you want something that is short and infrequent? Or could you donate a certain amount of time each week or month? This is something you’ll want to share with the nonprofits you talk with. There are volunteer opportunities that can fit any time commitment, from being a Girl Scout leader for a school year to registering attendees at a charity event for a few hours.
Nonprofits have become quite adept at tailoring volunteer opportunities to fit our modern lifestyles. For instance, Sparked, a website that helps people engage in “microvolunteering,” matches volunteers who just want to devote snatches of time to their causes with nonprofits that have suitable projects.You may even be able to use work time to volunteer. Many companies have employee volunteer programs, days of service during which teams of employees help a cause, or even loan out “skilled” volunteers to help with sophisticated projects at charities. You can even find a way to use your professional skills to benefit others through a matching service like Catchafire.

3. Contact relevant organizations.

Look up the organizations in your locale that deal with the issues you care about. Contact them and ask if they have any volunteer opportunities. You can also get an idea of what volunteer opportunities are out there by visiting the many online volunteer matching services.Your local media are also great resources. Community newspapers and the websites of your favorite TV stations often have news or listings of volunteer needs right in your neighborhood. Be sure to encourage your neighbors and friends to tell you about their volunteer experiences and how they got involved.Contact one to three organizations and then visit them in person. Ideally, you’ll meet with a volunteer coordinator and get a good idea of how the nonprofit works, the kinds of volunteer opportunities that are available, and how good a fit it is for your goals. It’s a good idea to volunteer for a small project before getting extensively involved. If it doesn’t work out, you can move on. Finding your right volunteer match can make the difference between being a volunteer dropout or a happy, dedicated one.

4. Look for a volunteer opportunity that will be fulfilling.

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Volunteer work should not be entirely selfless. It is important that you enjoy what you are doing so that you will continue doing it. Think about what you like to do. Are you a “take charge” kind of person? If so, you won’t be happy knocking on doors or stuffing envelopes. Look for leadership opportunities at nonprofits, such as serving on a board of directors, helping with fundraising, or organizing an event.

On the other hand, you might not want something intellectually challenging. Perhaps you have enough of that in your own career and would like to so something simple but meaningful. Maybe you would enjoy cleaning up a vacant lot, planting a garden or signing people up for a charity run.

5. Match your skills to the volunteer opportunity.

Make a list of the things you are good at so that you can share them with the volunteer coordinators that you talk with. People who are sophisticated with computers, for instance, are in high demand at nonprofits. But your skills might be a facility with people, ability to do detailed work such as keeping meticulous records, hands-on ability such as carpentery or sewing, a talent with the written word, or public speaking.

6. Be prepared for a challenge.

(Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation”)

Boredom and impatience with the process are the biggest threats to a fulfilling volunteer experience. Some nonprofits will be disorganized and ill prepared for volunteers. Don’t stay with that kind of situation. If they deserve you, they will be ready to use you effectively.

If you work for a high-powered corporation, you may get impatient with the way things are done at a nonprofit. Try to refrain from telling them how to do their job.

If you work with things instead of people, you may have to rethink how you operate. Working with people and their problems takes a different and more patient mindset.

7. Expect personal growth.

(Getty Images”)

You may be challenged by having to deal with people who are less educated than yourself, from different backgrounds, and who have a different ethnic background. For sure, your stereotypes will crumble as you witness the dignity of all people no matter their circumstances.

These challenges are healthy ones and will result in your own personal growth if you persevere rather than run away at your first glimpse of life as others live it.


Holiday Portraits and Rare Plant Sale

December 7, 2012
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Cactus sale and portrait fundraiser Saturday at Kaweah Oaks Preserve
Dec. 06
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Kaweah Oaks Preserve will be hopping this Saturday as families dressed in their holiday best pose for portraits and a rare Christmas cactus sale takes place.

Both the portraits and plant sale benefit Sequoia Riverlands Trust, caretakers of this preserve located east of Visalia on Road 182.

Professional holiday portraits by CJHopper of PhotoMenage are by appointment only. Call now for an appointment as space is limited. Cost is $55 for the 20-minute photo shoot and one 8×10 print. To make an appointment, call CJHopper at 595-9691.

Sequoia Riverlands Trust is selling Christmas cacti collected by Andrew Frazier, SRT’s native plant nursery manager. This is not the typical Christmas cactus sold in nurseries. The sweet-scented, large blooms have cream colored petals with bright yellow highlights. They bloom at night about two nights a year in the spring and are called the Queen of the Night.

The bare-root cacti cost $5 to $25. Native plants and other cacti will also be available for purchase at the plant sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, call Kelly Ryan at Sequoia Riverlands Trust at 738-0211, ext. 105 or email atkelly@sequoiariverlands.org.


Looking for that holiday portrait that says it all?

November 14, 2012


This holiday season, learn from past mistakes.

Now you have the chance to take a professional holiday family photo to make up for all those questionable choices.

Sequoia Riverland Trust announces holiday photos at Kaweah Oaks Preserve!

Bring your family, bring your dog (on leash) or both as you get a professional photo in the beautiful outdoor setting of Kaweah Oaks Preserve!

CJHopper Photography is joining PhotoMenage in support of the Sequoia Riverlands Trust, caretakers of Kaweah Oaks Preserve.  They will be offering mini professional holiday portrait sessions for $55.00 on location at the Kaweah Oaks Preserve on Saturday, December 8th from 1pm-5pm, includes 8×10 print credit. Proceeds from this event will go to Sequoia Riverlands Trust to help maintain private nature reserves such as the Kaweah Oaks Preserve. Reservations now underway, must sign up prior to event.  Limited number of sessions available.

Link: http://goo.gl/a60yl. Or call CJHopper at 559-595-9691


Senator tries out digital trail

October 30, 2012

 

Senator Jean Fuller using her smart phone to read the QR code at Kaweah Oaks Preserve as she takes a tour, October 26, 2012.


Senator visits with Sequoia Riverlands Trust at Kaweah Oaks Preserve

October 30, 2012

Senator Fuller on the Sycamore Trail

SRT was honored to give a tour of Kaweah Oaks Preserve to Senator Jean Fuller (R) Bakersfield last Friday, October 26. Board President Scott Spear and SRT staff talked about conservation easements to keep farmers in business, natural and wildlife habitat projects and our environmental education programs for students. The Senator even tried out our new digital trail by reading the QR codes with her smart phone. Thanks to the Senator for her interest and also her husband Russell and assistant Stephanie Amaral. What a great day!


Volunteering

August 11, 2011

Sequoia Riverlands Trust has two volunteer days coming up this month, at Dry Creek Preserve on Tuesday, August 16th and Tuesday, August 30th from 9 am – 11 am. If you choose to volunteer you will be helping our Nursery Tech, Andrew Glazier propagate native plants, focusing on potting elderberry and starting some willows.

We propagate elderberries and willow by taking a ‘cutting’ of a mature plant, then soaking it in water to let the roots grow out before planting it in soil. We take cuttings by cutting off a piece of the mature plant’s branch. So essentially, we make clones of wild plants, grow them in the nursery, and then plant them on the preserve where we took the cutting.

Anyone can volunteer, but you need to bring a liability release form with you. If you are under 18, then you need your parent’s signature. Anyone under the age of 16 needs to be with an adult. We hope to see you at Dry Creek Preserve!

You can download a printable copy of the liability release form here.  RELEASE OF LIABILITY_DCP Work Days_Aug 2011

 


Congrats Earth Day Runners/Walkers!

April 25, 2011

The 2nd Earth Day 5K Run/Walk was a great success, thanks to so much enthusiasm from our community. Thank you to all 220 runners and walkers who participated! And special thanks to the following:

  • Odwalla, for donating delicious/nutritious (and eco-friendly) post-race goodies
  • Visalia Parks and Recreation, for providing flawless timing of the event
  • Sole2Soul Sports, for providing the finish line, race preparation assistance and pre-race packet pick-up at their store
  • Visalia Runners Club, for providing race preparation assistance and support
  • The Farmer’s Daughter, for providing boxes of organic produce for our overall male and female race winners
  • And all the other volunteers who helped groom the trails and facilitate a smooth race day!
And now, for what you’ve all been waiting for… RESULTS! It was a fast run this year… fifteen runners ran faster than the winning time last year.
Congratulations to everyone who ran and everyone who walked.

Catch a glimpse of the event with the slideshow below. If you didn’t have the privilege of attending this great event, and if you’re wondering what all the high-fiving is about… Earth Day also happens to be National High Five Day… or so I was told.

All photos taken by John Greening.

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(If anyone happened to find an unknown camera in their post-race belongings, please return it to SRT. Thank you.)