Team work really does make the dream work: A toast to my co-workers
I’ve always said that I have the best co-workers, and this fall, they proved my point again.
As an engagement manager with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), I feel like I’m always asking for help at volunteer and engagement events. Secretly, I wonder if my co-workers really like coming out to events. They tell me they do, that it’s a good break from their regular work, but I can’t help but wonder deep down if they mean it.
It’s not that I think they’re lying; my doubt stems from the intense gratitude I have for them and the desire to make sure they know that I don’t want to take advantage of their time or take them for granted. Conservation and fundraising staff are incredibly busy people year-round, so the guilt of asking for their time is very real.
Last spring, our fundraising team secured a corporate sponsor to help with a riparian (riverbank) restoration project at the Molde property north of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Riparian restoration projects are a new type of project for us in Saskatchewan, so the research behind what shrubs to order, where to order them and how and where to plant them was exciting. Then, two weeks before the corporate event was scheduled, the corporation was unable to attend due to circumstances beyond their control. It was completely understandable, but panic set in.
I was getting 200 fully grown shrubs delivered in one week for the event, and I had no one to plant them. So, out went the panicked email asking if any staff (who were all busy trying to get their own field work finished) could help me plant these shrubs. Six staff volunteered right away, and two even had their partners come help.
I wondered whether we could get all of the shrubs planted in one day, but sure enough, they knocked it out of the park and we finished planting in five hours. Six staff members, 200 shrubs and countless warm fuzzies for me.
NCC staff are work horses. We constantly have more irons in the fire than we probably have time for, but our unwavering passion for what we do keeps us going. Our ability to step up when others need help, despite how busy we are, is what sets us apart from other teams. We really are family, and I couldn’t be more grateful for who I am surrounded by at work.
So this is for you, my fellow NCC Saskatchewan team. Thank you for being such an integral part of engagement work and for the extra hours put in at Conservation Volunteers events. Whether it is working on securing critical pieces of land or changing the hearts and minds of people, cheers to the important work we do that is such a big part of our lives and who we are. I wouldn’t want to be on this journey with anyone else.