Nate Peterson, a regular volunteer at the SPAWN Native Plant Nursery.

Volunteer Spotlight: Nate Peterson

“It feels good to be able to help preserve an area that I’ve had so many good memories in, to come in and make a tangible difference on what’s happening in the Lagunitas watershed.” – Nate Peterson

Volunteers are an incredibly important part of Turtle Island Restoration Network and our many programs. For our Volunteer Spotlight this month we interviewed one of the regular volunteers in our Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) native plant nursery, Nate Peterson.

Nate Peterson, a regular volunteer at the SPAWN Native Plant Nursery.

Photo: Nate Peterson, a regular volunteer at the SPAWN Native Plant Nursery.

Nate has been volunteering with us since September 2016, when he applied for Environmental Academy during his sophomore year at Albany High School. The program, run by the school, asks students to spend their Friday mornings volunteering with an environmental organization.

Nate has always enjoyed west Marin, especially camping in Samuel P. Taylor state park with his friends, and when he looked for an environmental organization in the area he found the SPAWN program. He explained that he was much more interested in having a hands-on volunteering experience than working in an office, “I’d much rather be outside than inside” he laughed.

The community of people at SPAWN is a part of the experience that immediately stood out to him, “when I showed up for the first time they were all very welcoming. You get to form relationships with these people you’re seeing every week and you’re all moving toward a common goal.”

Nate (far right) with other nursery volunteers and SPAWN staff.
Photo: Nate (far right) with other nursery volunteers and Turtle Island Restoration Network staff.

Nate explained that he finds volunteering is a great way to relax after spending a whole week bottled up inside a school. Stress about work and college builds up, but volunteering on a Friday helps him get away from that. “It’s nice to come out here and work outside with the plants, everything’s just kind of simpler.”

Nate is now in his senior year and is still volunteering here at SPAWN. He’s planning to go to college next fall but reassured us that he’ll continue volunteering at SPAWN. “It feels good to be able to help preserve an area that I’ve had so many good memories in, to come in and make a tangible difference on what’s happening in the Lagunitas watershed.”

Nate (left) on a plant walk in Samuel P Taylor State Park.

Photo: Nate (left) on a plant walk in Samuel P Taylor State Park.

Nate would also encourage anyone who is interested to come and volunteer, even if they haven’t worked with plants before. “I’m of the opinion that if anyone spends enough time outside they’ll get to appreciate it.”

If you’re interested in volunteering, please join us for our next event!

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