Volunteer shoutout: Farmer Ladybug

Volunteer work is such a crucial part of our efforts at Oxbow. As a non-profit farm and conservation center in Carnation, WA, we are dedicated to building the world we want to see. An essential part is bringing community members that represent, make, and support our mission and the community’s voice. Oxbow Education programs genuinely benefit from those who join as volunteers and increase our reach to inspire people to become good stewards of the land and deepen their understanding, love, and connections between their community and its ecosystem. So today, we start a new tradition where we take a special moment to uplift, celebrate, and publicly recognize some of our outstanding volunteers.

With this in mind, we would like to introduce you to the fantastic Laney Mohr (they/them), or Farmer Ladybug. They are a dedicated, passionate, and charismatic volunteer who has helped Oxbow for the third year! 

Laney started volunteering in 2019 when they had their first experience at Oxbow. They discovered the uniqueness of listening to the curiosity and wonder of campers being amazed at something as simple as a worm wriggling in their hands. And witnessing first-hand just how adaptable children can be walking into the first day of summer camp not knowing anyone and leaving with nurturing and beautiful friendships between one another only a week after.

Laney shared with us a fond memory of one camper who was quiet and shy, came into camp not knowing anyone, and was placed in a group with many strong personality kiddos. However, over the week, they slowly found their niche in other aspects of Oxbow- they loved building fairy houses, found their special spots in the swale, and developed an independent flow, building new relationships with people, the land, and the ecosystem. As a person who grew up in cities and did not spend much time in nature, they mentioned seeing these positive experiences in young children is an extraordinary thing to witness. 


Recently, Laney’s family visited Oxbow alongside them. While walking around the grounds, seeing children playing with dirt, harvesting veggies, and experiencing the daily routine of volunteering and spending time at the farm, they suddenly understood why Laney was willing to commute such long distances to be part of these efforts and to contribute and lend a hand to make it happen.

Laney has worked with a different age group each year, started with 4-6 year olds (lots of bathroom breaks, changing, accidents, etc.) which felt like an introduction to summer camp themes. Next year, they then went from that to working with a middle school group. With the middle schoolers, they felt like they were able to treat them more like peers, ability to hold them accountable, with this group it felt like an application of summer camp themes.  This summer they worked with elementary schoolers, which has felt more like a middle ground. They’re mature enough to engage, but still so excited about everything. Feels like an exploration of summer camp themes.


“Oxbow has been my happy place, a place to feel centered, a place where I can come and block out the rest of the world. Can take a chance to slow down.”


Seeing (and recognizing) campers come back year after year and knowing they remember “Farmer Ladybug” and enthusiastically greet the land, staff, and veggies makes it so worth it. We’re hopeful Laney will come back as a volunteer next season; Oxbow is lucky to have them.