About 100 volunteers were feted on Saturday with an awards ceremony, a bingo game, and gifts of native-plant seed packets during a lunchtime celebration at The Watershed Institute.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Watershed and freely give their time, talents and skills, serving as Welcome Desk greeters, StreamWatchers, Critter Care helpers, Blue Bird nest monitors, board/committee members and more.
About 1,750 volunteers contributed roughly 12,000 hours this year which is the equivalent of six full-time staffers. Those efforts augment the work of the Watershed’s 25 full-time and 12 part-time staffers.
Those volunteer hours both help fulfill and promote the mission, allowing the Watershed staff to focus its scarce resources and staff time on mission-critical efforts such as dam removals, teacher education, stormwater projects and more.
“We couldn’t do the work we do without our volunteers, who are truly our ambassadors as they support our mission and spread the word about our activities in their own communities,” said Executive Director Jim Waltman.
Youngsters and teens decorated a handmade wooden tree, which resembles a giant Jenga game. They also sleuthed down clues for a scavenger hunt from the ornaments decorating the Douglas fir Christmas tree in Gorrie Hall.
Erin Landis, the River-Friendly Coordinator, drew the names of three raffle winners from the 180 people who completed the River-Friendly Survey in the past few months.
Volunteer Coordinator Eve Niedergang wrapped up the day and expressed her gratitude for the talents of the many volunteers who contribute their hours to the Watershed.
“We are so appreciative that you choose to give these very special gifts of your time, talent and skills to the Watershed Institute to support the critical work that we do,” she said. “So thank you from the bottom of our collective hearts and we go forward into 2020 knowing that we have the best and most generous partners in our volunteers!”