10 October 2011

volunteer post-play report: do good bus at nature consortium

I woke up yesterday in a total funk. It was Sunday, my one day off, and I barely managed six consecutive hours of sleep any night the previous week. I’d just started with a new client, had a hard time settling my mind and was tired and cranky.  As to be expected in Seattle in October, the skies were gray, and all I wanted to do was pull the sheets over my head and go back to sleep. Instead, I collected and cleaned myself and hopped on the #28 bus headed downtown to volunteer with the Do Good Bus on tour with Foster the People.

I made the mistake of not checking the address and quickly realized when I arrived at the downtown Showbox, I was not in the right place. I did some quick math in my head (a task pre-noon on a Sunday without coffee) and determined there was no way I could hoof the 1.5 miles and make it in time.

Exasperated, I hailed a cab and soon joined a line of other do gooders patiently waiting behind the Foster the People tour bus outside Showbox SoDo. I still wasn’t feeling it. I wanted a cup of coffee. I wanted to be in bed, and if not bed, in a bar watching the Steelers – Titans game.  I had an endless “to do” list to tackle before the week and desperately needed a day off – all to myself.

The minute the Do Good Bus pulled up, my mood changed and my energy was charged. Rebecca and Stephen, founders of this LA-based philanthropic effort on wheels are infectious in their desire to give back and are all about having fun while doing it. Rocking out to Foster the People (natch), we played a variety of ice-breaker games with our bus mates en route to our volunteer destination – a site that was kept secret until we were minutes away.

We pulled up to Pigeon Point Park, part of the West Duwamish Greenbelt in South Seattle, where staff from Nature Consortium waited for us. Our task for the next three hours: Help with reforestation efforts of coniferous species by planting trees. Potted saplings were spread across a sloped bank, and after a quick safety briefing on how to properly use a shovel, dig a hole and plant for growth success, dirt was flying.

I’m not afraid to get dirty. I love the meditative nature of gardening and getting dirt under my nails, on my clothes, in my hair…I found my calm place and reveled in the quiet repetition as I dug holes, loosened roots and gave saplings a place to spread out, grow and succeed. Time passed quickly, and when it was time to pack up our equipment to go make terrariums with the young ones of the group, we had managed to plant 164 new plants. These native plants would deter erosion and evasive blackberry growth on the hillside.

I got back on the bus with a shiny new attitude.  This was why I volunteer and give back. Not only does volunteering feel good, my experience with the Do Good Bus was a reminder that it doesn't take much to make a difference in your local community. Also, giving back doesn’t always have to be about hardship. As a group, we were able to accomplish so much work in three short hours; work that would've taken days for Nature Consortium’s small staff. That is what community is all about.

1 comment:

jass said...

Thanks for sharing about travel.

Volunteer Travel