|Doing Good Together Newsletter|
Jenny Friedman, Executive Director
Make a Difference...
Photo: Vounteers at work in North Carolina State Park
Talk About It...
Learn About It...
Photo: Nature in a Nutshell for Kids: Over 100 Activities You Can Do in Ten Minutes or Less by Jean Potter
"Nature-deficit disorder is not an official diagnosis but a way of viewing the problem, and describes the human costs of alienation from nature, among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses. The disorder can be detected in individuals, families, and communities."
Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods
The mother-daughter pair Deb and Jessica Tessman has volunteered for nearly three years at Gale Woods Farm, a working educational farm operated by Three Rivers Park District in Minnetrista, Minnesota. As city dwellers, the Tessmans had reasons to explore volunteer opportunities there. By age 12, Jessica had mapped out her career path: farming. Her mother thought that some real experience could provide an overview of the joys and challenges that lay ahead. Jessica also knew the importance that farm experience would lend to her college application.
The volunteer role that immediately attracted Deb and Jessica was the "Lamb Watch." Each year, as the ewes get close to delivering their lambs, the park relies on volunteers to help keep a 24-hour watch in the sheep barn. Lamb Watch volunteers, who are specially trained on how to handle the birthing process, work in overnight shifts to give the sheep farmer time to rest. (A walkie-talkie is available in case of emergencies.) Since they began volunteering, Deb and Jessica have helped deliver five new lambs. This spring, mother and daughter worked several shifts without seeing an ewe give birth. But on their last scheduled watch they were able to assist a lamb being born. As it arrived not breathing, Jessica competently applied the techniques she had learned in training to encourage respiration; the lamb quickly started breathing on its own.
Deb and Jessica are so taken with life at Gale Woods Farm that they volunteer independently as well. Deb has led a hay wagon farm tour, and Jessica leads young groups though barn station activities during the weekly summer Farm Days. Although Jessica had a full schedule, she makes time for Gale Woods. She enjoys the leadership experience and ongoing opportunities to broaden her farm knowledge. Deb enjoys seeing her daughter living out her passion-- especially in moments as touching as when Jess napped on a hay bale snuggling a young lamb. For Deb and Jessica, the farm experience is so rewarding that they wouldn't trade it "for anything in the world."
Photo: Jessica Tessman on "Lamb Watch."
Twin Cities families are invited to the quarterly
Saturday-morning volunteer events called LOVE IN
[DEED], sponsored by Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, a DGT partner.
It's a guaranteed easy way to make a difference and teach your kids the
value of helping others. The church is prearranging all projects, sites
and materials, so you simply show up, choose the project that interests
your family, then enjoy your foray into service alongside other
families and individuals.
If you know of other nonprofits or a social service agency that would benefit from materials to help recruit, educate and celebrate family volunteers, we can help. Please contact us for information.