Impact Giving: Q&A with Diann Sheldon

Enjoy a Q&A with volunteer and donor Diann Sheldon about how The Mountaineers provided connection and community during the pandemic, why she loves introducing people to hiking, and how she hopes her support can create more meaningful outdoor experiences for others.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
July 01, 2022
Impact Giving: Q&A with Diann Sheldon
Diann Sheldon

Diann Sheldon has been a friend and faithful supporter of The Mountaineers for more than 10 years, where she has found deep joy in experiencing nature with others. In 2012 Diann mustered the confidence to start her own guiding business, Discover Nature, where she leads hikes to help others connect with nature in Mt. Rainier National Park. 

Diann has chosen to give back to our community in so many ways, including becoming a volunteer trip leader, making financial donations, and even donating her services as a professional guide to auction at our annual Gala.

We asked Diann a few questions about what it means to her to be a member and supporter of The Mountaineers.

When and how did you first get involved with The Mountaineers?

I joined The Mountaineers originally to take the sea kayaking course offered by the Olympia Branch. I had taken a two week course in Baja Mexico with NOLS, and wanted to learn more and have a chance to meet others to join on kayak trips. I loved all the instructors and made some wonderful connections. 

I then decided to finally begin my guiding business in 2012. With the success of my business, I had less time to be on the water with The Mountaineers. But then, like many others when the COVID pandemic began, The Mountaineers was a major outlet for me to stay connected to people and the outdoors. 

Truly, if it wasn't for The Mountaineers, my mental health would have been impacted. Not being able to work and share nature with others was very difficult. But The Mountaineers gave me a wonderful opportunity. I took every Zoom offering I could. When courses re-opened, I signed up for snowshoeing and winter camping and then CHS (Conditioning Hiking Series) with the Tacoma Branch. I have made many wonderful friendships and am sooooo grateful.

What do you enjoy most about introducing new hikers to your favorite trails?

There are so many great parts to introducing people to new trails that I love. One of the best is helping folks see the beauty in the details along the way. Many people start out wanting to charge ahead. I create an environment which allows for pauses and noticing the sweet intricacies in nature. By the end of our time together, they are looking for those themselves.

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Diann on her first Mountaineers hike as a solo leader.

How do you see your role as a supporter of The Mountaineers community?

I believe we all can benefit from the mission of The Mountaineers. As a volunteer and a donor, I can help provide the opportunity for folks to try something new like hiking or snowshoeing. Or perhaps they have the skills and are looking for company in their explorations. Often the conversation leads to people talking about how they appreciate the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and their desires to give back and conserve and respect these ancestral lands.

I hope my donations provide the opportunity to introduce folks to a new experience in their own backyard and perhaps share it with someone special. And of course, help The Mountaineers raise funds to support all the amazing programs the organization offers.

Why do you think The Mountaineers is a worthy place to give your time and financial donations?

Donating to The Mountaineers is a way to feel pride in being a part of this great organization, knowing that donations of time and philanthropy are helping others participate, grow, and learn. Any donation is a wonderful way to pay it forward. 


After some reflection about how her life has changed as a participant in The Mountaineers community, it seemed obvious to Diann that she wanted to invest in that experience for others, now and in the future. By making financial donations and donating her services for our Gala’s auction, she is supporting accessible outdoor education for adults and youth, and conservation of the places she loves to hike and paddle.

Read more

Our Impact Giving blog series helps our community understand how donors like Diann make a difference. Learn more about how your giving makes an impact:

The Mountaineers® is a 501(c)(3) organization supported through earned revenue and elevated through charitable contributions, tax ID:27-3009280, 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115.

If you are inspired to make a gift, please visit mountaineers.org/donate or call 206-521-6006. 

MAIN IMAGE BY DIANN SHELDON.

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