Affirmation Day

 Even though I work on a beautiful farm and the goal of my strivings is to save nature, one of my greatest passions, I have to confess that there are days I get pretty wrapped up in myself and my tasks and it becomes just a job.

Today was not one of those days.

I should have known it was going to be a special day when a magnificently healthy coyote crossed the road in front of me on my sun soaked drive in to the office.   My spirits were further lifted during a rather disappointing webinar by the frisky deer who made quite a show out my window of wrestling a small tree and then pouncing on a dozing sibling when the tree proved a dull opponent.  I began the afternoon with a table full of snacks surrounded by some of the most enjoyable, dedicated volunteers I’ve ever known to start planning this year’s Benefit Dinner.  

But the crown jewel of the day came where I didn’t necessarily expect it – at a Meet the Conservation Foundation event.  After all, I don’t NEED to meet The Conservation Foundation.  After nearly 11 years as an employee, I already KNOW it, inside out.  But as I listened to a couple of my coworkers and a couple of our members tell their personal stories of how nature and particularly the work of The Conservation Foundation has touched their lives, I was utterly inspired.  Brook, our President, spoke so passionately about his desire to make sure today’s kids have nature nearby, as he did as a child.  I absolutely loved the way member Jan Gricus described nurturing the native plants in her Conservation@Home certified garden as an extension of mothering, and how that helped her through the loneliness of her children leaving home.  No one tells the story of Lenore McDonald and the McDonald Farm like Bill Davis, pictured here, and as I listened to him today I was overwhelmed thinking about all of the good that has come from one stubborn woman’s dream to save her farm.  Our recently retired Judy Fitchett’s eyes sparkled more than ever as she shared some of the aha moments she got to witness over 13 years leading area children into nature.  And former Trustee Ron Nosek’s description of how he has experienced the work of The Conservation Foundation with each of the five senses was pure poetry.  

I know these people and their stories well, but even so I felt myself welling up with tears on at least three separate occasions as I saw how clearly touched they have been by the work of this organization.  I could not be more proud to be a small part of what goes on here!  After these uplifting stories and a ride home blasting Mumford and Sons, I’m feeling that life is indeed rich in harmonies.

These Meet The Conservation Foundation events are being held twice a month.  Whether you know us a little, a lot or not at all, I think you will be inspired.  I certainly was!  Just contact Scott LaMorte at 630-428-4500, Ext. 42 if you are interested in attending!

I will end this post the way Jan ended her testimonial this afternoon, with the ever-wonderful Margaret Mead quote: 

"Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed it is the only thing that ever has."

-Jill Johnson

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