Looking back at my time with NCC

Interns help out on the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve (Photo by NCC)

Interns help out on the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve (Photo by NCC)

June 28, 2016 | by Allison Archibald | 0 Comments

I started working for the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) as a stewardship intern in 2008. After a great summer exploring NCC conservation areas across BC, I returned to the University of Victoria to continue my geography degree. The next summer, I returned to NCC, and the next after that.

After my third summer as an intern, I’d graduated university. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I hoped that a full-time position with NCC would  come up. My undergraduate degree gave me understanding of the scientific side of NCC’s conservation work, and during my internships I also got the chance to interact with communities. Already being familiar with NCC as an organization, and knowing some of its supporters and volunteers, was definitely helpful when I was hired as BC’s philanthropy and communications assistant in January 2011.

Since then, I’ve taken on various positions within the organization.

Being a philanthropy coordinator — my current role — is all about donor stewardship: ensuring that our supporters, partners and funders receive responsible and respectful care and attention. My job includes processing donations, managing records, coordinating events and helping with funding proposals.

Allison at In Bloom 2013 (Photo by NCC)

Allison at In Bloom 2013 (Photo by NCC)

Eight years after my first internship, tomorrow marks my last day. Working at NCC has fueled my love for connecting with people, and I’ve built countless meaningful relationships. The annual In Bloom Wildflower Festival, held at the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve on Vancouver Island, has been one of the most rewarding events I’ve organized. For 10 years, NCC has opened this beautiful and serene preserve to the public. Engaging with the visitors and the amazing volunteers is always a highlight every spring. To see and hear how much visitors enjoy the day makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

In 2015, I got the chance to spearhead an event that will hopefully become an NCC tradition like In Bloom. A local business, Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, had just come on board as a corporate partner and had an amazing event space. The NCC team collaborated with Sea Cider, and came up with the idea of a dinner to celebrate nature. We picked April 22 — Earth Day — as our date, which fit perfectly with NCC’s campaign to conserve 1 million acres of land in BC by Earth Day 2020.

A local catering company joined us to develop the “farmed and foraged” theme. We invited our donors, sponsors and supporters, as well as friends and family. Everyone enjoyed a nature-focused evening. We celebrated Earth Day in style with locally sourced food, some of which the chefs had foraged themselves.

Allison Archibald and Lesley Neilson (Photo by NCC)

Allison Archibald and Lesley Neilson (Photo by NCC)

This spring, we hosted the dinner for a second time. Once again, friends, family, NCC staff, donors and community partners made this event memorable. Growing, cultivating and sustaining relationships are skills I’ll definitely need as I take on new challenges.

Back in 2010 when I wondered what I wanted to do after my university studies, NCC was the answer to my question. A few months ago, I made the difficult decision to move on from NCC. After eight years, I feel like it’s time to continue following my passion for helping people. Beginning in September, I will start a four-year registered nurse program at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George.

I am excited to go back to school, to learn new things (human anatomy is very different from sand dune formation!) and to meet new people. Here at NCC’s Victoria office, I know there are folks who will remain friends for a long, long time. I’ve lived here my whole life, so I’m also looking forward to being in a new city — one that experiences all four seasons! Although I’m not sure how I feel about snow…

I will always love nature, and as I move out of the field of conservation, I’ll still do everything that I can to protect it. Thank you, to my colleagues and the many supporters of NCC, for eight amazing years.

About the Author

Allison Archibald is the former philanthropy coordinator with the Nature Conservancy of Canada in British Columbia.

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