Read about Darcy’s spring service activities:
Spring has finally sprung, here in the Garden City! Despite, or perhaps because, a mild winter, I have been more than ready for spring and everything it brings…sunshine, flowers, warm weather and most excitingly, activities! My service focuses on gardening for wildlife and, unsurprisingly, it has really started to pick up speed as the weather warms up. I’ve been massively busy connecting with people and organizations, organizing seminars and talks, planning events, recording absolutely everything about those events for the next AmeriCorps member, helping other people plan events and I love it! But the thing with an environmentally friendly and dynamic city like Missoula means that as I start to have more activities, so does pretty much every other organization.
Much of my position involves building relationships with people and organizations and discovering ways we can work together to achieve our goals. Many of those organizations have projects and events that began decades ago and evolved into community traditions. When organizing events for my service, it can be a challenge to figure out what other activities overlap, and how many people will be drawn to that one versus mine. At first, I considered those co-occurring events to be conflicts, but I have come to realize that it is an indicator of just how invested Missoulians are in their town. Honestly, it’s a wonderful challenge to have because it means that I serve in an eco-conscious and involved community.
Earth Day (or rather, Earth Week) is a great example. I briefly considered organizing some sort of native plant planting or wildlife gardening event, but I quickly found that both weekends and the entire week are filled with activities that not only conflicted with my plans, but they were activities that I desperately wanted to participate in! So I took Earth Week as an opportunity to connect with various organizations and learn more about my community. And I am so glad I did! I removed trash from riverbanks, taught children how to make paper butterflies while teaching them how to save butterfly habitat, attended films at the International Wildlife Film Festival. I connected with my host community, learned more about the organizations in my town, and remembered that Earth Week isn’t just about action, it’s about forming the connections that make us invested in transforming our world into a better, happier, healthier Earth.
Darcy McKinley Lester studied forestry science at Pennsylvania State University with a focus in forest biology. Her junior year, she spent five months at the Australian National University where I focused on forest policy and international forestry. Darcy is serving with the National Wildlife Federation in Missoula, helping certify the community as a wildlife habitat and furthering the Eco-School initiative in the state.