5 Reasons Volunteering Is More Important Now Than Ever To Idaho
Yesterday, Tuesday, October 3rd, I joined the Trout Unlimted Ted Trueblood Chapter and Boise Parks and Recreation for a few hours at a downtown pond in an effort to restore some native shoreline habitat.
Believe it or not, planting a few native shrubs in order to conserve some habitat for my beloved trout and bass had been a multi-month effort. A difficult one at that!
You see, volunteers and volunteering became a non-possibility during COVID times. As anyone who spends any time in the out-of-doors can tell you, there have been more folks than ever on Idaho's trails, creeks, and campgrounds. I say (mostly) that's a good thing! What Idaho has to offer in wild spaces can be mentally, emotionally and physically healthy. Basically, most of the world needs to take a big deep breath of fresh air.
That being said. The increase in traffic has taken its toll. As a specific example, the downtown pond that we were to work on, near Esther Simplot Park and Whitewater Blvd., folks unfamiliar with the standard protocol of the outdoors often lead their canines off the trails where they often root up habitat, and more people than ever wandered off trail to explore the beauty of Idaho. Not to mention, and I love dogs, but, those dogs poop and that poop gets into the ponds and everyone wonders why there are "water quality warnings" in the summer months.
"Leave Nothing But Footprints" still leaves a hell of an impact when you increase the number of footprints 100X.
All in all, together, 8 members of the Trout Unlimited Ted Trueblood Chapter planted a few dozen trees and shrubs in order to solidify a stretch of riverside bank. While the numbers may not be independently impressive, I certainly was impressed by the depth of the experience.
To learn more about the fantastic volunteer opportunities with Boise Parks and Recreation, check them out online at https://www.cityofboise.org/departments/parks-and-recreation/volunteer/.
If you're interested in maintaining healthy fisheries, keeping Idaho's blue-ribbon trout streams healthy and accessible, as well as ensuring the American tradition of fishing continues, I highly encourage you to consider joining Trout Unlimited and the Ted Trueblood (Boise) Chapter. Learn more about what a membership to Trout Unlimited offers here, or feel free to email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In just a few short hours, we learned about an entire network of the City of Boise Parks and Rec department I didn't know existed, biology, and ecology! All things we encounter every day, but many (including myself) know very little about. It feels great to understand your backyard a bit more!
It was relieving, and refreshing to see folks from all walks of life come together for the common cause of protecting and caring for something we all see as valuable. In a time of distance, and division, it was empowering to see people coming together for good.
In a similar vein as #2, it was really nice to spend time with a few of the elder statesmen of Trout Unlimted Ted Trueblood Chapter, including Richard Jones, longtime board member, and Volunteer Coordinator. The great equalizer is effort, and seeing Richard on his hands and knees in the dirt right beside us as he shared an ocean of wisdom was again, refreshing and envigorating.
There is the inherent risk of hubris in taking and taking and taking! I wanted to give something back. I felt a sense of balance recognizing that I am not innocent and I also tread the banks of the river as I wade along and drive my full-size truck towing my boat long distances to enjoy my time fishing. If you take something out, pleasure, enjoyment, fulfillment. Give something back to the well.
We all know Boise, and Idaho is full of brand-new and recent arrival transplants. Let's keep it positive. Congratulations, you now live in the greatest place on Earth! BUT, that being said, let's be sure to invest in our communities. We can't all just reap the benefits. We all need to work. We all need to get our hands dirty, and literally plant the seeds of the future. One tree. One pond. One riverside bank at a time. If you love where you live, be a part of the reason why it is the way it is.