So here it is again. More Volunteer talk. But I cannot help myself, because these days, the Volunteers do some of the most important work in so many different areas of society. Recently, after a post concerning the lack of attention from our DNR towards the state’s biggest problem, Invasive Species, someone Commented on the posting. The Comment said that many Volunteers need some sort of payback to be there as a Volunteer. That is what sparked this particular posting.

The Comment went on to say that an incentive or small trinket would help get even more Volunteers to come out and help. In this case, we are talking about doing physical work in the outdoors, either pulling up Invasive plants or hauling heavy things around. I guess I have seen some Volunteers over the years, who came out for the prize, but how inexpensive it was to award that prize, for so much work gained from those kind of Volunteers.

I have seen far more Volunteers who come to a scheduled work detail, with absolutely no expectations of getting anything, but the Camaraderie of fellow Volunteers and the self satisfaction of doing some greater good, for no rewards and just the knowledge that so many other people will benefit from the Volunteer groups efforts.

Volunteerism is the way these days. It used to be that the Non-Profit Group is where we got special things done as a Community or Society. But the money to support these Group, the Grants and in many cases, the poor focus of these Non-Profit groups has caused them to be very non-functional, and unable to take the money given them and use it in a conscientious manner. To much going for the salaries of the Groups officers. Or most of the money goes to office space, salaries, Marketing, etc. and only a very small percentage ever makes it to the “Cause”. This is not always the case. But it has become the norm.

The best Bang for the Buck, comes from these Volunteer groups. Our own DNR depends on Volunteers only, to combat the state’s biggest Natural Resources problem, in Invasive Species. They also rely on Volunteers mostly, to maintain the single-track Foot Trails in most of our Parks. The entire Stewardship division of the DNR is made up of just a few organizing Rangers, who’s job it is to round up enough Volunteers to perform all the needs that fall under Natural resources Stewardship. Now that says alot for the Volunteer.

Think about that for just a moment………the people of Michigan rely on Volunteers to battle our state’s biggest Natural Resources problem, it’s complete state-wide Natural Resources Stewardship programs, and Trails Maintenance for most of the Parks. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Thank You very much Volunteers.

But getting back to the premise here. Besides this Blog posting about the Volunteers, and other minor articles, very few to no names are used, to recognize these very important Volunteers. Would we get even more participation if we gave every Volunteer for specific tasks, a “Patch” or a PIN, celebrating the duties completed and deeds well done? A Pin or Patch that these Volunteers could present proudly on their outdoor shirts or Packs.

I would like to here from all of you on this subject. Let me know what you think here. Would these trinkets bring in even more Volunteers for various important Natural Resources projects? Would it make any difference to YOU, the regular Volunteer already? Please let me know here.

Hiking Michigan has already designed out a few different Pins and Patches for various Volunteers, for a number of upcoming projects set for next Spring of 2013. We are starting the New Year off with assisting our North/Central director Mark Wilson, and his coalition of DNR personal, Clare county people and the city of Evart Parks & Rec., in restoring and repairing a series of Trails at a Clare county Park called Green Pine Lake Trails. Just like the Scouts, everyone who participates as a Volunteer will receive a commemorative PIN, of their efforts to restore this entire abandoned area, to it’s once beautiful self.


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