I started volunteering with the Edmonton Area Land Trust (EALT) in 2014, after learning about the organization from other volunteers operating a booth at the Downtown Edmonton Farmer’s Market. I live and work downtown and I don’t have a car, so getting out to the field to volunteer with EALT is a nice departure from my day-to-day routine. I love to escape the city and enjoy the nature at the EALT sites, while also contributing to local conservation efforts. Plus, EALT treats their volunteers very well – not only do they organize transportation to the conservation sites and ensure we have all the supplies and training we need, they also always give us chocolate bars – a great reward after a day of field work!
I work as an Electrical Engineer at ATCO Electric, and my company has a program called “ATCO EPIC Time to Give.” The program is designed to recognize and support employees who volunteer at organizations that enrich our community. If an employee volunteers for 50 hours or more per year, ATCO will donate $150 to a registered charity of our choice. I volunteered for a few different organizations in order to reach 50 hours, but after weeding, hanging bird houses and bat boxes, and even helping to build a fence at the Pipestone Creek conservation area (turns out I have a knack for getting the two-person auger started), EALT seemed like an obvious choice for my EPIC donation.
It’s amazing that we have so many beautiful natural areas so close to Edmonton, and it’s a great feeling to know that I can do a little bit to help conserve these areas. Plus I feel like my volunteering at EALT benefits me as much as it benefits them – I always enjoy a healthy dose of sunshine, nature, fresh air, and chocolate.
I hope my story has encouraged you to volunteer for EALT, and while you are waiting for the weather to warm up so you can get out to the field, I encourage you to see if your company has a volunteer or donation matching policy. Or, if you own a company, I encourage you to set one up!
By Natalie Hilbrecht – EALT Volunteer