Wildlands Restoration Volunteers (WRV) is a Colorado nonprofit 501(c)(3) that organizes thousands of volunteers each year to complete more than 100 wild lands conservation projects in Colorado and southern Wyoming. Projects range in length from just a couple of hours or a single day to a weekend or longer with camping and great food in spectacular mountain settings. Volunteering with WRV builds great friendships, heals the land, and strengthens our communities. Sign up for a volunteer project today!
On March 20th, 1999, about 20 people gathered to plant willows around Heron Pond at Pella Crossing, near Longmont. From this humble beginning grew a corps of thousands of dedicated volunteers who donate over $1 million worth of time and expertise to restore Colorado’s beloved natural heritage at ~100 projects each year. That group is WRV!
WRV has grown and changed since that day. We now have a diverse Youth and Inclusiveness Program, and a comprehensive volunteer leadership development program. In 2017, we hit our 1,000th project, our 40,000th volunteer, and $10M in volunteer time and expertise contributed to the restoration and stewardship of our most beloved natural areas.
The Land Needs People
Colorado is world famous for its spectacular natural beauty, clear mountain streams and fantastic outdoor recreation – a huge boon to our economy, and our quality of life. As our population grows, recreation is increasing. 500-year floods hit most of the Colorado Front Range in 2013 and damage to ecosystems still remains. Wildfires are burning more intensely. As a result of these and other impacts, many of Colorado’s forests, streams and trails are suffering. At the same time, there is a large and growing gap between the ecological needs of special places and the available resources to care for them. Volunteer stewardship has demonstrated itself to be a very effective way to address this need. Land management agencies are increasingly eager to engage volunteers. Yet, far less than 1% of Coloradans are engaged in land stewardship. We believe there is a vast potential to mobilize more volunteers, and in so doing build a “Culture of Stewardship.” However, resources are needed to train and organize volunteers and provide them with tools and materials.
People Need Community with a Purpose
Volunteerism in general, and outdoor stewardship volunteerism specifically, provides a wide range of benefits to people. We’ve seen many of these powerful benefits among our own volunteers. Many people need and want these things. Below are a few examples.
• Ecological knowledge of place.
• The opportunity to “give back” to natural places we love.
• Pure satisfaction and joy in accomplishing something tangible for the land.
• People want a vision of hope through collective action, rather than bad news.
• People gain valuable skills and leadership development transferable to other areas of their lives, education, and careers.
• Social interaction, friendship, building trust and relationships; belonging to a thriving community.
• Many volunteers speak of the link between healing places, communities and ourselves.
WRV is all about putting the needs of the land and people together. They were made for each other.