Denise Harris, Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary, AB (Photo by NCC)
Denise Harris has been a dedicated Conservation Volunteer (CV) since 2009. Since then, she has attended 25 CV events. Denise was recently presented with the Golden Glove award for her tremendous dedication and efforts in the 2013 CV season.
Neither rain, nor sleet or even dental surgery could keep Denise from volunteering with NCC last summer. Where there was a stewardship project to be tackled, she was there — even when it meant driving over 700 kilometres from her home in Edmonton to take part in a cross-border project in Saskatchewan. In 2013 Denise attended 12 Conservation Volunteer events — almost half of all the events held across Alberta, helping care for NCC properties near Waterton, the Crowsnest Pass, Calgary and Edmonton.
When asked the question, "Why do you volunteer for the Nature Conservancy of Canada?" Denise eloquently expresses her reason for giving her time to NCC:
"Volunteering is my way of expressing my gratitude to nature for all that she has given and shared with me. As a child, nature’s abundant beauty awakened my curiosity while providing opportunities that enriched and inspired me.
"Whether it was testing a puddle to see if my rubber boots were tall enough to cross…or being mesmerized by the cloud transformations from a rabbit to an elephant to a castle to a princess…or discovering a cocoon and learning about the fuzzy caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a beautiful moth or butterfly…or tasting the sweet nectar of fresh picked wild strawberries, raspberries and saskatoon…or providing the best hiding places when Mother had a long chore list…nature never failed to entertain, capturing my heart and infusing my imagination with wondrous ideas and joy-filled experiences.
"Soul enriching memories that as an adult I had forgotten about, that is, until I became involved with the Nature Conservancy of Canada's (NCC's) volunteer program.
"As an adult, I continue to wonder at the beauty of the umbers and violet hues cascading throughout nature's sunrises and sunsets. The walks down her numerous pathways continue to fill my soul with peace, love, hope, health and happiness. The joyful surprise I feel while exploring and learning about something new, like when I discovered what at first appeared to be a willow branch was in fact a baby black crowned night heron.
"The inspiration I feel each time I am awakened by the call of the common loon…or the excitement of hearing the thunder of wild horses hoofs...or the awe at viewing a multi-tiered beaver damn…or the thrills and chills that run up and down one’s spine while listening to the call of a lone wolf.
"I am grateful to NCC for providing the opportunity and to nature to challenging me to face and conquer my fears like when I stood with weak knees between the dens of two rattle snakes. Nature is still my muse, my teacher and it is with heartfelt respect that I honor and treasure her gifts.
"So it is with respect for nature and gratitude to NCC for providing numerous and diverse opportunities for me to say, 'Thank you to all, for all that I have and have yet to receive.'"
~ By Denise Harris, March 21, 2013