FOMO for the Schoharie Valley
FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. I wait and wait and wait for warm weather, and every year I’m surprised how fast it turns nice and I feel like I’m missing out on tons of fun outdoor activities. It’s as though we in the North have to fit a year’s worth of events into four months. My Google Calender is full of local events – I’m not going to go to three plant sales in one day, but I NEED to know about them. Do I go to the Friday night state park open night or the annual cruise in? Can I squeeze in both? I second-guess my regular schedule. Sure, I love weight lifting, but does spending time in the gym mean I’m not spending time outside on a nice day? Can I assuage my guilt by promising myself I’ll read outside afterwards?
So I packed up my little backpack with some water and took a book out of the library for identifying trees and spent some time at Landis Arboretum. I actually never spent much time noticing Spring – it happens so fast! – and was really fortunate to visit when I did.
This was my first visit to Landis Arboretum and I absolutely fell in love. A volunteer offered a guided walk around the Native Plant Trail, a project he’d been working on for about 10 years. He was so friendly and passionate, the day was so nice, and it was so much fun, I wondered if Landis needed volunteers. Though I haven’t got one ounce of plant know-how in me, I dream of being an herbalist with a little farm with chickens and goats.
Though I couldn’t further plant knowledge, maybe they would need help clearing trails, or set-up for events, or making phone calls for fundraising. I have some skills that a nonprofit might need but might not have the funds. So I checked out the web site, and it reminded me a lot of SALT’s volunteer page. They are asking for the same help: committees, media, event help, donor relationships. And that suddenly shook me out of my winter stupor. I had been on the recruitment end of volunteering since September that I almost forgot what it was like to BE a volunteer. I went to Landis for a simple hike and to see someplace new, and by the end of the first day I wanted to help out and went to the web site myself. Volunteering is a way to give precious personal effort to a cause. It’s a selfless act, though the volunteer may get something out of it too: a change you can see, socializing, leadership, influence, training, or maybe just a free T-shirt and snacks. I want to learn about native plants, meet new people, and use my new resource development skills as well as learn new ones. You might have a passion for the Schoharie County community, or feel that preparedness is key to a resilient Valley, or network with community leaders, or use and hone a skill. SALT has a place for you if you really want to volunteer. Sincerely, Rachel, AmeriCorps VISTA