Monday, November 21, 2022

Natural Lands Seeking Volunteers For 2023 Force Of Nature and Stoneleigh Ambassador Programs

On November 21, Delaware County-based
Natural Lands announced it is accepting applications for both its 2023 Force of Nature® volunteer training program and its Stoneleigh Ambassador volunteer training program. 

Both programs prepare participants to give back through fulfilling and impactful opportunities, in partnership with the land conservation non-profit and its robust community of dedicated volunteers.    

“Nearly 70 years ago, a group of volunteers who were passionate about the Philadelphia region’s open space founded Natural Lands,” said Oliver Bass, president of Natural Lands. “Today, Natural Lands’ volunteers play a vital role in continuing our founders’ work at our locations across eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. Their energy and commitment have been inspiring.” 

Added Debbie Beer, director of volunteer engagement, “More than a decade ago, Natural Lands held the first volunteer training class. Since then, volunteer activity has grown exponentially, with enthusiastic supporters that generously share their time and talents. Our volunteers are crucial to our organization’s mission, building deep connections to Natural Lands and to each other.” 

The Force of Nature program offers volunteers the chance to learn land stewardship techniques, conservation strategies, community science, and community outreach support that can be put into practice across the organization’s vast network of nature preserves. 

Volunteers attend a series of training sessions ranging from the importance of native plants to our local ecosystem, to tree planting tips, to wildlife management. 

The Stoneleigh Ambassador program trains volunteers to serve as greeters and guides of the 42-acre public garden in Villanova. 

Volunteers prepare by learning about the history of the property, its continuing evolution from private estate to public garden, and its commitment to showcase sustainable garden techniques with native plants.  

Natural Lands is committed to diversity and inclusion in all its work, and strongly encourages BIPOC candidates and LGBTQ+ candidates to apply. 

Force of Nature volunteer program

-- Trainees participate in a comprehensive, hands-on training and service experience conducted by Natural Lands staff experts. Following training, volunteers commit to giving back a minimum of 20 hours per year to Natural Lands. 

-- Training covers a variety of land management, habitat restoration, native plant gardening, event support, outreach, and ambassadorship topics. 

-- Training runs February 25 through April 29, 2023. Nine total sessions will be held on Saturday mornings and Thursday evenings, at various Natural Lands locations or via Zoom. 

-- Application deadline for this highly competitive program is December 20, 2022. Selected candidates will be contacted to schedule an interview.  

-- More information and application:  Force of Nature webpage.

Stoneleigh Ambassador volunteer program: 

-- Trainees participate in five, half-day training sessions in which they learn about the history of Stoneleigh: a natural garden and Natural Lands, native plants and ecological horticulture, and guest relations best practices. 

-- Training runs February 15 through March 15, 2023, and is held Wednesday mornings, 9:00 – 12:00 PM, in person at Stoneleigh. 

-- Upon graduation from the program, Ambassadors volunteer their time welcoming guests to the garden and supporting special events. They commit to serving at least two four-hour shifts each month at Stoneleigh. (Shifts are available April through November, Tuesday through Sunday, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm.) 

-- Application deadline for this program is December 20, 2022. Selected candidates will be contacted to schedule an interview.  

-- More information and application: Stoneleigh Ambassador webpage.

Said current Stoneleigh Ambassador Lin Hall, “It is exciting to train and work alongside the Stoneleigh staff. We have learned so much about the history and gardens from them. What’s more, we get to observe the changes in the trees and other garden plants throughout the growing season. It’s such a pleasure to volunteer in such a beautiful setting!” 

Force of Nature volunteer Carol Dailey has applied her new-found skills to her own yard. “I’ve tackled projects at my house that I never would have had the courage or knowledge to do before Force of Nature. It’s so cool to me how, by just planting native species, I can increase ecological biodiversity in my own back yard.” She added, “Natural Lands is something that will always be a part of my life and I’ll be a volunteer forever. I love it.” 

For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Natural Lands website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from Natural Lands and Like them on FacebookClick Here to support their activities.

Natural Lands has preserved more than 125,000 acres, including 42 nature preserves and one public garden totaling more than 23,000 acres.

[Posted: November 21, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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