Today we have Nancy Tague at the blog, an author whose love for nature dictated her community involvement. She volunteers for the Glide Wildflower Show which has been running 1965. The Glide Wildflower Show is the largest display of native flora in the northwest. Over 600 species of flowers, shrubs, grasses, ferns, lichens and mosses are gathered by dozens of collecting teams who travel throughout southwest Oregon from the Cascade Mountains to the coast. The show, which originally began as a fund raiser for the Glide Community Center now attracts visitors from as far away as Australia and Europe.
Why do you volunteer for the wild flower show?
I first got involved with the Glide Wildflower show because I wanted to learn about the wildflowers in my own backyard. I had only lived in Oregon a few years and didn’t know names for the plants I saw. A very knowledgeable neighbor and long-time show volunteer invited me to help her collect, and I leaped at the opportunity to learn from her and to get to know her better. That led eventually to taking over the collecting route and doing other jobs for the show that utilized my skills: computers, writing, general leadership, and sharing the knowledge I have gained.
I continue to volunteer with the show for a variety of reasons. It’s fun – I get to spend time in the forest and find these beautiful little treasures that otherwise I might not even notice. It widens my circle — I have made friends with interesting, like-minded people. It helps me learn – every year I pick up a little bit more about botany and native plants. It connects me to my community – this 50-year-old event, he biggest wildflower show in the Pacific Northwest, is a source of pride for this little town and brings together hundreds of volunteers. And it puts my ideals into action – I believe the natural environment is essential for humanity’s physical and spiritual well-being, but is in critical danger because of people’s actions. Because the show’s purpose is to educate the public about the value and importance of native plants, it lets me do something right here in my own community to encourage appreciation of the environment.
Why do you feel volunteering is important?
I’ve volunteered in many different ways ever since I was a teenager. The various reasons I volunteer for the wildflower show – fun, meeting people, learning, connecting to community – might not all be present in a particular volunteer activity. But putting my ideals and values into action always is, whether the value is environment, reading and education, or world peace. I see things that I believe should to be done to make this world a better place. Some of them are right here in my neighborhood. Someone needs to do it – why not me? I can’t do everything, but I can do a little. I can do my part to make the changes I’d like to see happen. That’s why I think volunteering is important. If everyone did a little bit, we’d have an army of millions making the world better, in millions of different ways.
What do I get out of it? Obviously, having fun, meeting people, and learning are immediate paybacks. I must confess that I feel pleased when other people appreciate something I have helped develop. But it also feels good simply to use my skills, interests, and personal qualities. And it feels good to know I’ve made a difference, even a little bit of a difference.
Nancy Tague retired to 20 acres of forest in southwest Oregon where she reads, writes, gardens, and volunteers. Her stories and articles have been published in various children’s magazines, and she recently completed a historical book manuscript.