Becoming Effective Takes Time, Iterations, Fine Tuning
1. How to plant a plant: We have learned that it is important for team leaders to provide planting demonstrations to volunteers. In addition, team leaders conduct plant checks to make sure that proper care has gone into each plant before applying protection devices like blue tubes and mulch. Training and quality control efforts together result in over 80% survivability of our planting projects.
2. Prep the site: Proper preparation of the work party site is essential to a successful planting party. Having clear goals and areas identified for tools, plants, breaks and personal belongings keeps the work party running cleanly. We include a thorough safety check of each site to decrease accidents. An important rule is to always have more work for people than anticipated!
3. Tools for everyone: Through the years NSEA has acquired a large number of tools through grant funds and donations. We learned that as our work parties grew in attendance that we needed to have enough tools for everyone. It just doesn't work to share a shovel between five people. Volunteers show up to contribute and a key part of making this meaningful is to keep them busy - allowing each individual to feel the important contribution they are making!
4. Food needed: Volunteers deserve warmth and nutrition. Volunteers feel welcome with a hot cup of coffee, they are more energetic with quality snacks and more positive if it's raining or snowing. Breaking bread together is a good way to build community and our work parties always allow time for that important part of salmon recovery.
5. All ages, all abilities: We have learned that work parties are really popular for families and people of all abilities. It is important to have areas that are safe for small children, gloves that fit small hands and tasks that can keep a smiling toddler busy - teaching them the important ethics of volunteerism, fostering stewardship ethics in all people.