We love our volunteers and want others to know that volunteering with Natural Restoration is about more than just showing up to pick up trash. We're going to regularly feature an interview with one of our volunteers.
Today we're kicking-off with a someone special who has been with us from the beginning. She has encouraged us to pursue this dream and is the first to offer to lend a hand.
Valley native, Shawna Ketcherside, is an awesome individual who shares our passion for natural areas across Arizona. As a four-time Natural Restorations volunteer, Shawna knows a thing or two about how much work goes into removing broken concrete and shingle piles from the forest and scattered trash and broken glass from natural areas along urban trails.
Check out what Shawna has to say about trash and illegal dumping in natural areas and volunteering with us:
What is your first memory of finding trash or graffiti in a natural area?My first memory of finding trash in a natural area was when I went shooting in the desert with my husband and friends. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if this was a “designated dumping ground” for shooters (since I was just getting into the hobby) or what. But once we were done, I noticed a friend grab a large trash back and begin to pick up all the bits and pieces that we shot along with the trash that was already there.
What made you decide to you get involved in with Natural Restorations?I became involved with Natural Restorations because I admired the drive and ambition of the founders. They showed a lot of dedication with leaving an area better than they found it, and it all consisted of trash. If one or two people can bring local areas back to their former glory, I want to do it too! The impact would be even greater! And plus, I’m such a tree hugger, I wanted to do what was right by nature.
When you last volunteered with Natural Restorations, how did that experience make you feel?The last experience was awesome. It’s sad to see what people choose to leave behind instead of taking the time to dispose of their trash properly. But Natural Restorations has been gaining momentum, and it’s been a joy to see more and more people volunteer. The teamwork blew me away! Whether the volunteers knew each other or not, they worked together to get the job done.
What do you wish other people knew about Natural Restorations?Although picking up trash may not be at the top of someone’s to-do list, there’s more to it. I get an opportunity to hike; Arizona is a beautiful state. I love that during the summers, the cleanups are up north. When it’s cooler, the cleanups are in the valley. That’s a smart way to do it in Arizona. Also, there’s a responsibility factor that comes into play. You definitely learn from other people’s mistakes, or rather, their negligence. It makes me want to educate kids, perhaps my own someday, to take care of the area they live in. It’s frustrating that grownups aren’t being a good example, but the silver lining is that, as adults, we get to also get to show what a responsible adult should do.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering with Natural Restorations?Do it, and I’ll see you there!
What has surprised you most about volunteering with Natural Restorations?What has surprised me is the teamwork I’ve witnessed. I’m relieved that I’m not the only one who believes how badly we need Natural Restorations.
What do you enjoy doing do when you aren't volunteering?I enjoy time at home with my husband. But I also like to cook, read, hike, travel to sites in Arizona and out of state, camp, and sometimes stick my nose in a canvas or computer and be creative.