The Personal Reward of Being an Environmental Steward and Volunteer

Hear from super volunteer Regina Robinson about her passion for stewardship, and why she thinks you should volunteer your time for something you're passionate about.
Regina Robinson Regina Robinson
Olympia Stewardship and Conservation Committee Member
July 24, 2019

Being a huge fan of stewardship and conservation, I’m super proud of the hard hat I earned as a stewardship volunteer with the Olympia Mountaineers. I first became interested in 2014 when Kathy Fox and Jim French approached me to help out on several local projects, and from there I was hooked.

That first project had me engaged and laughing, even in the pouring rain. By becoming involved with the stewardship and conservation team, I soon channeled my passion for the outdoors into trail maintenance projects. With the Olympia branch I earned a hard hat with my trail name, “Tree Hugger,” and a volunteer t-shirt.

You can earn these items too, by coming out and participating on a stewardship or conservation activity. Three work parties earn you a t-shirt, and five work parties earn you your very own hard hat with your name and trail name!

The newest Olympia Mountaineers members to hit these exciting benchmarks are Theresa Young, Skip Wertz, and Eileen Haydu. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to making our trails endlessly better with your continued contribution!

Theresa Young, AKA “Noodles”, is presented with her very own hard hat by Jennifer Fortin | Photo by Regina Robinson.

Volunteer with The Mountaineers

Every branch and committee has its own traditions, customs, and budget for supporting and recognizing its volunteers. The Olympia branch is an exciting place to volunteer, especially with conservation efforts, and members can enjoy the following benefits from their efforts:

  • Meet new people and make new friends
  • Give back to the outdoor areas and communities that we love
  • Learn and acquire new skills, including crosscut saw training
  • Earn cool gear like hard hats and t-shirts

The best way to learn about The Mountaineers is to volunteer with one of our activities, be it through a course, a stewardship opportunity, or by taking that very first hike. The majority of our volunteers start out as students in one of our courses or as participants in one of our activities. Once you are familiar with our programs, we'll work with you to find a meaningful role that best utilizes your talents and interests!

Skip Wertz earned his Olympia branch service t-shirt | Photo by Regina Robinson.

The Mountaineers hosts a variety of stewardship activities to clean up local hiking, kayaking, and biking trails, and to establish healthy new habitats through native plant restoration in vulnerable areas. Each of these activities is run by volunteers like you.

Many of these projects happen on the weekends, and occasionally during the week, all through spring and fall. During these stewardship activities you will be learning new skills and working with a great bunch of individuals.

Volunteer Awards and benefits

Each year, each branch honors one of their members with a Service Award. Our Service Award recipients will be honored at the Olympia Branch Annual Awards Banquet, held on October 24, 2019, at St. Martin’s University.

2018 Olympia Branch Service Award Winners Robert Sell and Jennifer Fortin with Service Award Honoree Regina Robinson | Photo by Ginger Sarver

In addition, The Mountaineers recognizes many of our most committed volunteers with two additional awards. We recognize volunteers who have supported our program 15 times or more in the last year with the Super Volunteer badge. We also recognize volunteers who have led over 10 trips in the last year with the Key Leader badge.

The Mountaineers also offers the following benefits as a thank you to our incredible community of volunteers!

Discounts on Gear

Volunteers who donate five or more days of their time in a calendar year have access to our exclusive volunteer group on Expert Voice. This program provides volunteers with access to discounts from more than 300 brands! For more information about this benefit, please review the instructions for redeeming your member benefits.

Annual Appreciation Dinner

The Mountaineers hosts an annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on the last Saturday in January. This event is an opportunity to connect with friends from across the organization, learn more about our volunteers' collective accomplishments, and to celebrate our deep culture of volunteerism. During this event, The Mountaineers also recognizes the recipients of our organization-wide awards.

Become a volunteer today by finding that activity you're excited and passionate about. Whether it’s being an environmental steward, instructing a course, or becoming a youth leader, we are always excited to welcome another volunteer into our community of dedicated and passionate outdoorspeople. If you have any questions, you’re more than welcome to shoot me an email so we can chat about volunteer opportunities that are right for you!

Email Regina

Learn More About Volunteering 


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Jennifer Fortin
Jennifer Fortin says:
Fri, Jul 26, 2019 8:17 AM

What a great article, Regina! Conservation and Stewardship is such a great way to experience nature and giving back to all those trails we use! Thanks for writing this and all the happy photos too!