The Nature Conservancy's Lauren Miheli is inspired by how much people really do care, and how much time and talent they are willing to donate to make the world a better place.

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Lauren Miheli

What do you do? I have the pleasure of working as the volunteer coordinator for The Nature Conservancy in Washington. I work with people who are concerned about caring for nature and the environmental issues that society struggles with, and want to make a change through volunteering. I help them find ways that they can get involved that are both meaningful for them and provide value to us.

What’s a typical day like? A key part of my job is communicating with staff who would like to use volunteers, and communicating with volunteers to match them to the right opportunity. I love that I get to spend a lot of time interacting with volunteers both in the office and out in the field. They are amazing people.

Throughout the year, I get several opportunities to lead volunteer restoration work parties on our preserves, and those are the best days, when I get to be inspired by both the generosity of the volunteers and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

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How do you find volunteers? I post volunteer opportunities online through websites like Idealist and VolunteerMatch, on our own website and through our Facebook page.

I offer periodic volunteer trainings in our office, open to anyone who is interested in learning more about volunteering with the Conservancy. We also have a dedicated base of volunteers who have been supporting our work for years, and I can always count on them to step up when needed. Also, our volunteers often recruit other volunteers themselves!

We can always use more volunteers, especially at restoration work parties and as ambassadors in the community.

What’s the best part of the job? I love that I am able to give people hope for our planet and empower them to make a difference. I am inspired by how much people really do care, and how much of their time and talent they are willing to donate to make the world a better place. Every volunteer I work with has gotten involved because they are passionate about our mission: to save the lands and waters on which all life depends.

What surprises people about your work?
Sometimes my job requires me to work on weekends, and when I tell friends that I can’t get together because I have to work, their initial reaction is “bummer, I’m so sorry.” But I love what I do, and working on weekends doesn’t feel like work, so I don’t mind! Really, what better way is there to spend a Saturday than in awe of nature and meeting amazing people?

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