Why I Give: One Volunteer's Story

Idaho resident Chad Matteson contributes to The Nature Conservancy in order to get involved in the community and to reconnect with the outdoors. Chad regularly volunteers his time at the Conservancy's Silver Creek Nature Preserve. "It is a very special place," he says. "Sitting on the visitors' deck and looking out (into the preserve) makes you feel like you are in meditation."

Why do you give to The Nature Conservancy?

Chad Matteson:

After moving to Idaho I was looking into getting involved in the community. My background is in the environmental field; I worked for the U.S. Forest Service when I was young. I found that after living in San Diego, I had taken living near nature and the mountains for granted. So I wanted to get back outside and participate in environmental work. It's been fun getting to know everyone at Silver Creek.

What is your favorite place in nature?

Chad Matteson:

That's a hard question for me. I've had so many great times in the outdoors that each day outside in nature is always the best day. Some things that come to mind? My work with the Forest Service in Alaska was pretty spectacular, and hiking in Peru was amazing. If I had to pick one, I would have to say Southeast Alaska -- it was such a dream for me.

Tell us about your favorite memory or experience in nature.

Chad Matteson:

When I was young, one of my most important memories was a two-week backpacking trip that I did with my father. I was 17 and we were hiking over Lamarck Col, a 12,000-foot high pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We had to go over the pass to get to our ride home; we had no options. I had to carry his pack over the pass for him because he wasn't physically able to carry it anymore. We both knew it was his last trip into the high Sierras, a place he loved dearly.

I got my appreciation for nature from my father. As a Boy Scout leader, my dad took my brothers and I out camping. We would go out to Yosemite, Kings Canyon, the deserts camping and go up to the mountains in the winter for skiing. That was where we would spend our time. We learned to enjoy and appreciate the natural open spaces.

What is your wish for nature?

Chad Matteson:

For people not to take (nature) for granted, because unfortunately the natural areas that we grow to appreciate won't always be there -- not the way we remember them. If we take the natural open spaces for granted, we'll lose them.


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