March Volunteer Spotlight
Meredith Hardin, President of Naturescaping SW Washington, has been a long-time volunteer for our organization and will be stepping down to focus on the Water Wise Garden. She will be an active member on our board acting as Vice President and
mentor to the incoming President, Kelli Marine. On behalf of our organization, we would like to thank Meredith for her leadership over the years and for staying on to make sure Naturescaping has a smooth transition. We discover some of what Meredith has experienced as a volunteer and board member in our March Volunteer Spotlight.
Q: When did you get involved with this organization?
A: In January, 2008 I volunteered on an icy, wind blowing Saturday morning helping a Garden Coordinator move mulch. I enjoyed working with and getting to know this Garden Coordinator, and as I continued volunteering on Saturday mornings, working with other Garden Coordinators.
Q: What attracted you to the cause?
A: I’ve always felt a strong connection with nature and wildlife. When I moved to Vancouver, I looked for an opportunity to garden with wildlife in mind. I believe in NatureScaping’s mission and purpose. The sharing of knowledge, stories and passion of the members inspires me. Also opportunities to learn about landscaping for native plants in the Pacific NW peaked my interest.
Q: What attracted you to this organization in particular?
A: The warm, friendly camaraderie among the Board, volunteers and our members. The curiosity and love of learning that gardeners share. Gardening in the Wildlife Botanical Gardens gives me great pleasure, moments of calm and peace along with fun social interactions with like-minded individuals.
Q: What are your activities and what do they involve?
A: I’ve been on the NatureScaping Board since 2009 and served as Board Secretary until elected President in 2013 until Feb., 2023. I’m involved in all aspects of the organization. Since 2009, I’ve served as Garden Coordinator of the Natives Garden, then Manor Garden. I am now Coordinator of the Water Wise Garden which since 2016 involved many volunteers help with sheet mulching in sections this open lot of grass, creating planting beds, along with a rain garden.
Q: What motivates you to stay involved?
A: The volunteers, many who are friends and the excitement of mentoring new volunteers in learning about us and getting involved. Also the classes and events where I get to see many community friends from partnering organizations who also believe in NatureScaping’s mission.
Q: In your opinion, what is the most important work that this organization does?
A: Educating our community on the value of native plants and landscaping for wildlife to hopefully increase the community’s awareness and actions in their own yards to create wildlife habitat.
Q: Why do you volunteer/donate?
A: We are one of the few organizations funded solely by members, grants, and donations. I value the close knit camaraderie of these individuals who have a voice in the education of our citizen’s on the importance of ecological sustainability – particularly to those who are involved with urban development. We need to keep our outdoor and farming resources for the health of our future generations of all life forms.
Q: Of what contribution or achievement are you most proud?
A: The volunteers I’ve recruited or encouraged to join who have taken the initiative to collaboratively team together in maintaining and improving the organization and the Wildlife Botanical Gardens. Developing the Student Garden Coordinator Program with CASEE staff initiated by our past grant writer, Larry Fletch.
Q: What do you hope the organization will achieve in the near future? In the long term?
A: For the near future, I hope the organization will continue providing education to our community through our programs. My hope for the long term is the Board will continue to team collaboratively with new, younger members joining the Board to carry the organization’s mission forward for the next 30 years.
Q: Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement? In providing inspiration?
A: My husband, Mitch, supports me 100% in my involvement. All of the Board members over the years, in particular, Karyn Weber who was Board President when I joined. She mentored me as I moved through Board positions. The friendship of the Garden Coordinators, CASEE staff, Ron Ferguson (Jack of all trades) keep me involved. They all inspire me with their stories, talents, generosity and knowledge.
Q: Do you have an anecdote about this cause/organization that really moved you?
A: Many times the support and stepping up to help by Board members and Coordinators have moved me. A couple of times of the past ten years, I’ve felt the organization was floundering or had serious conflicts jeopardizing our continued existence. Then a new volunteer or Board member steps in with needed skills/talents and the organization is reinvigorated and becomes stronger. I’m always amazed when this happens.
Q: What other organizations or causes do you support?
A: We have many partnering organizations who I support – Battle Ground School District’s Center for Agricultural Science and Environmental Education (CASEE), Composter Recyclers, Master Gardeners, Watershed Alliance and their Backyard Habitat Certification program, Stream Team, Clark Conservation District, our local farms…all who care about ecological sustainability.
Q: Do you have a message to share?
A: Find your passion and share it with others in whatever collaborative form you are comfortable with. We don’t all have to be the leading voices in our organizations or community, but by the sharing of our knowledge, talents and showing up to help…we are making a difference.