On September 24th, Cuyahoga Valley National Park hosted the fifth of six annual Days of Service for 2016. This was a Day of Service that I was able to take a lead on, which taught me many valuable skills in the world of volunteer management. We had two different projects for volunteers to choose from when they registered online. One of the projects was doing trail work on “Phase 2” of our new mountain bike trail, while the other was a habitat restoration project at one of our most popular trailheads. We had roughly 150 volunteers in total join us for the day. It was a beautiful day to give back to the public lands that we all love and cherish!

At the event, I did registration and assisted the volunteers at the habitat restoration project. There was a wide variety of people in attendance (individuals, scouts, school group, etc). Everyone left that day feeling accomplished and ready to come back and volunteer with us again soon.

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The area where we did habitat restoration was alive with wildlife, a great opportunity for education about the world around us. Snakes, frogs, voles, and insects of various kinds were all roaming around our project site.

One of the best ways for me to learn something new is to just do it. Then based off of how the task at hand was dealt with, I make changes accordingly for the next time. Having been through the planning stages once under the supervision of our non-profit friend’s group volunteer coordinator, I now know how much time and consideration it takes to plan a Day of Service. I am normally very well organized, but I found myself getting stressed at times when it came down to prioritizing various tasks at hand. I was also surprised with the time it took for some tasks to be completed once they left my hands and went on down the line. But, this is something completely new for me, so I enjoyed the chance to learn more about how our system works and what I need to work on for future tasks. Overall, I am very pleased with how the day went and I am looking forward to Make A Difference Day, the final Day of Service for the year, on Saturday, October 22!