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Protecting Our Future Means INSPIRING COMMUNITIES

When you donate to Cascade Forest Conservancy, you support vital advocacy, conservation, and restoration work in habitats throughout southern Washington’s Cascades.

But your generosity also benefits our region in a way that is harder to measure and yet no less significant to the future of our environment. How so? By supporting programs that allow volunteers to make a lasting difference for the ecosystems in our region. In 2021 alone, 294 volunteers experienced new corners of the forest and worked together to support important science and restoration projects. Each volunteer also contributed to building a vibrant and diverse community of people who care for the Cascades with a deeper appreciation for our environment. By providing CFC with the resources to plan and organize volunteer opportunities, you are providing experiences that inspire lifetimes of caring for and stewardship of our shared home.  

We spoke with Harley Nelson, whose desire to learn about environmental conservation led them to volunteer with Cascade Forest Conservancy in 2020. 

“I’ve done a lot of volunteering out in nature in various forms and my favorite this whole time has been volunteering with Cascade Forest Conservancy. I’ve never felt so impacted and impactful volunteering with anyone else. Truly. 
 
“I think because of the community that we share in it…It felt really fulfilling. It felt like I was making a difference. And it felt like I was making friends.”

CFC’s community of science and restoration volunteers come together from across generations, backgrounds, lived experiences, and income levels. They represent varying professions, amounts of outdoor experience, and levels of familiarity with science and restoration practices. Most aren’t scientists or conservation professionals. For them, trips with CFC are a unique chance to learn about places they value in a new way. This has been the case for Harley.

“[Conservation is] something I’ve always been interested in, but don’t have an educational background in…so volunteering with CFC has been great because I’m giving my time and helping out the environment. But I’m also learning about native plants…how to use mapping systems and learning about snowberries and chokecherry, and all this stuff. It’s really rad to feed my brain and help out at the same time.”

Harley recounted one story that illustrates part of what your generosity does for volunteers. A year or so after working with CFC to collect native seeds that were later used aiding in the recovery of areas impacted by severe wildfires, Harley was heading out for a hike.

“I was driving around somewhere and I just saw these beautiful, white, Dr. Seuss-looking poofs everywhere, and I thought what is that? I’ve never seen that before. And because of having collected the seeds of the plant and looking at its structure, I was like oh my God! That’s bear grass! And it was just so incredible to see—having worked with something that everyone [on the seed collection volunteer trip] told me ‘wow, you really need to see it in bloom’—and then to finally see it and have all the points pin together for me to know how to identify it without having actually ever seen it [blooming]…that was really special.”

Understanding and coming to know the natural world first-hand, in an intimate and personal way, changes a person’s relationship to it. While that’s impossible to place a value on, it is a gift you can give to someone when you donate to Cascade Forest Conservancy today. And, if you haven’t already, please join us on one of our volunteer trips next year! The 2022 science and restoration volunteer trip opportunities will be published in late February.

Will you be a part of the Forest for the Future Campaign? Donate today!

MORE FOREST FOR THE FUTURE FEATURED STORIES

South Gifford Pinchot Collaborative Coordinator, Josh Petit, on CFC’s work with forest collaboratives
Supporter and volunteer, Kim Freeman, on why protecting our future means protecting wildlife
Partner scientist, Jesse Burgher, on why protecting our future means working together