MUNCIE, Ind., Dec 26, 2022 – Earlier this month, Red-tail Land Conservancy released their 2022 volunteering report showing a record number of service hours donated to the nonprofit. Community members from east central Indiana volunteered a total of 1,507 hours to support Red-tail’s land conservation, wildlife habitat restoration, and outdoor education efforts, a 30% growth from last year.
Since 2020, Red-tail’s volunteer corps has steadily increased with more than 100 volunteers active each year. The organization says nearly 30% of volunteers who partnered with Red-tail in 2022 were new to the organization.
The University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute’s most recent Value of Volunteer Time Report estimates that a single volunteer hour has a cash value of $26.76 in Indiana. The number of hours given in service for Red-tail this year is valued at $40,140.
“Red-tail has a small staff, but with the help of volunteers, we have a big team working together to care for wildlife habitat and spread nature appreciation,” said Kelley V. Phillips, Red-tail’s Communications and Outreach Manager.
Just over half of volunteering was spent stewarding and restoring natural areas, including planting 750 trees in a former crop field in Muncie. Volunteers also built 25 wooden boardwalks to make for a better hiking experience at Stout Memorial Woodland near New Castle.
Amanda Ballenger, a volunteer since 2019 who has logged more than 50 hours of volunteerism, said, “I love coming back season after season to a Red-tail nature preserve where I have cleared invasive weeds and planted native trees. It makes my heart sing to notice new wildflowers and animal tracks where previously there were only dense, impenetrable walls of invasive honeysuckle shrubs. I can see the forest’s transformation back to health.”
Other volunteering included conservation professionals donating their time to teach Red-tail’s adult and youth nature programs. Additionally, Red-tail Land Conservancy is led by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of 14 community members from Delaware, Henry, Madison, Randolph, and Wayne counties.
“Volunteers are critical to furthering Red-tail’s mission. The weather is not always great, and the work is not always glamorous, but our volunteers still generously give their time and service,” said Phillips. “We are grateful to all of our partners in conservation and are looking forward to another year of working for the land.”
Individuals and groups interested in volunteering with Red-tail Land Conservancy can find more information at www.ForTheLand.org/Volunteer.
“Working as part of a team of volunteers for Red-tail is fun! The people are delightfully energetic and friendly, making the work feel like play,” said Ballenger.