Sycamore volunteers

Leading the pack

by Chris Fox, Land Stewardship Manager

This article originally appeared in the winter/spring 2020 issue of The Twig, our member newsletter. To see more articles and past issues, click here.

I recently read an article which stated that the national volunteerism rate had declined to a new 15-year low. The percentage of people giving financially to nonprofits also saw a similar downtrend. The article, however, was not all bad news. It did report that some nonprofits experienced record highs in volunteer hours and charitable donations. As the article put it, “it’s a case of fewer people doing more.”

At Sycamore, we are blessed with an abundance of dedicated volunteers. We rely heavily on those volunteers to help us continue to protect and care for land. Nearly every week, I personally work alongside volunteers who dedicate so much time to help us accomplish our mission. I am so grateful for the many people who give selflessly to our cause and organization. Since Sycamore’s founding in 1990 by a group of volunteers from the Sassafras Audubon Society, every milestone big and small has come because of volunteers. Your commitment and dedication are inspiring, and give hope that we can accomplish so much together. In the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’’

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, we have many opportunities for you to get involved. As we begin the new year, we will continue to have our monthly volunteer events, now known as the Third Thursday Volunteer Days. And we’re forming some specialized smaller volunteer groups, such as a crew dedicated to trail work and one focused on invasive species management. These groups will receive specialized training and be called out on a more as-needed basis. If you’re interested and would like to learn more, check out And if you already volunteer, thank you! We couldn’t do it without you!