Volunteers Make it Happen: Winter recap and new 2021 volunteer opportunities

With three false flood alarms and only a few days of cold snow, we’re feeling grateful for a relatively mild winter here at Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center! While the Kids’ Farm field rests cozy beneath the blanket of cover crops, late winter & early spring are the perfect times of year to plant trees and shrubs native to the Snoqualmie Valley region. With at-home work and school still part of the norm, our volunteer program leads have taken some time to try out new positions with a special group of volunteers; best of all, we’re starting to accept applications for new volunteers as things thaw out in 2021. Read on to learn more!

NEW: Growing Community Volunteer Group sprouts up in Monroe

A view from the school garden, looking up to the empty classrooms above.

A new group of “Growing Community” volunteers launched in mid-February in Monroe, just to the north of Oxbow. The group, which consists of parents, students, teachers, and the Snohomish County Conservation District’s (SCD) Urban Agriculture Program, is dedicated to the support of the Frank Wagner Elementary School Garden – and beyond! SCD supported Oxbow’s “Mini Gardens” program by donating seedlings in 2020, and they plan to offer even more plants this year as Oxbow continues to plan for spring and summer garden start distribution. Oxbow looks forward to continued collaboration with the Monroe community and expanded impacts of the school garden program alongside the enthusiastic Growing Community leaders.

If you live in the immediate Monroe area and want to help the Frank Wager Elementary School garden thrive, support local gardening at home, and assist with future community events, send a note to Farmer Shea to get involved!

Other resources:

For Snohomish County residents

Check out the Snohomish Conservation District site, in particular, their Lawns to Lettuce program. Lawns to Lettuce encourages landowners to convert part of their lawn to grow edibles in a way that builds healthy soil, protects pollinators, minimizes pesticide use, reduces runoff and conserves water.

For King County residents

The King Conservation District features loads of resources for creating systems that encourage better food, water, soil, forests, backyards, and communities!

On the Kids’ Farm

Garlic shoots are popping out of the soil and the first juicy buds are appearing on osoberry branches, welcome evidence that springtime is near! Oxbow continues to prioritize the health and safety of our staff, program participants, and visitors, while starting to ramp up volunteer opportunities on the farm. Kids’ Farm volunteers are welcome to join us as the 2021 growing season really gets going in March. Besides supporting our cultivation efforts, interested volunteers can lead Family Farm Adventures and other on-farm educational experiences, or join us for a whole week of fun in the sun as a Summer Camp leader! 


Kids’ Farm Volunteer opportunities

Summer Camp

Oxbow will host 5 week-long camp sessions in 2021 for campers ages 7 thru 14 and we need volunteer helpers! On-farm summer camp volunteer training held in mid-June 2021. Accepting volunteers ages 15 & up. >> Learn more and sign up

Kids’ Farm Naturalist

Help small “pods” or households learn about seeds, soil, compost, worms, seasonal changes, and other basics of organic farming on 2-hour Family Farm Adventure field trips! You’ll also assist the education team in a variety of farming tasks around the Kids’ Farm. >> Learn more and sign up

Kids’ Farm Volunteer

While this opportunity is limited during COVID-19, Oxbow Education is often seeking volunteers to help with the management and upkeep of our 2-acre Kids’ Farm and Living Playground. >> Learn more and sign up

Restoration and Conservation

Our conservation crew has been hard at work on several restoration projects throughout the Snoqualmie Valley. With the start of the new year, we’ve also started to look for our newest resident amphibians as a part of ongoing amphibian research. We’ve already planted thousands of willow and dogwood stakes in Duvall, and just under 2,000 in Fall City along the Snoqualmie River. Even though we’ve been out and about in the surrounding community, we’re still getting work done around Oxbow, too! We’ve also managed to clear and plant a huge section of our riverbank this winter. 

restoration volunteers
Eleanor (left) wrangles a massive root, while Peter (right) works the auger. Oxbow’s Conservation Volunteers have helped restore habitats at Oxbow and in the community beyond!

How do we do it, you ask? While we do have a particularly hard-working and talented team, we also have some very dedicated volunteers who have been piloting our new Conservation Volunteer roles. Two key volunteers, Eleanor and Peter, have planted large stretches of forest at Oxbow and throughout the Snoqualmie Valley.

Conservation Volunteers are invited to join our restoration team in our daily tasks on a regular weekly, monthly, or semi-monthly basis. Like with our regular restoration volunteer events, Conservation Volunteers help us remove invasive plants and plant native species; but they also help with preparation and clean-up, and may be invited to participate in more unique restoration and conservation tasks that aren’t typically offered to first-timers or volunteer groups. There is also a lot of one-on-one time and good discussions with our conservation team members. If you’re interested in joining our brilliant and weather-resistant Conservation Volunteers by digging in and helping with restoration projects from start to finish, we’d love to have you. 

Restoration Volunteer Opportunities

NEW! Conservation Volunteers

Conservation Volunteers work with Oxbow’s Conservation and Restoration team on a regular, ongoing basis. It’s a great opportunity to get outside and dig into satisfying conservation work weekly or monthly! >> Learn more and sign up

Private Habitat Restoration Work Parties

Help Oxbow to grow and care for our natural spaces with your family or small “pod”! Join Oxbow’s Conservation Team to learn about and improve critical habitat for plants and wildlife and help combat climate change. >> Learn more and sign up

Volunteer spotlight: Meet Farmer Stan!

volunteer stanStan has volunteered on the Oxbow Kids’ Farm since fall of 2019. Despite the challenges of floods, wildfire smoke, and the COVID-19 pandemic, Stan continues to support our growing operations with a smile – even if it’s currently hidden behind a mask! Thanks to Stan’s ongoing commitment, the Oxbow Kids’ Farm is well-pruned and ready to spring to life again this season. He has even hopped over to neighboring nonprofit Farmer Frog to support their ongoing hunger relief efforts! We are so grateful for the many hours Stan shares with us weekly and look forward to spending another growing season with him in 2021. 

“For me, it’s about the service to my community- being able to come out here and help out. And the fresh produce! In the summer when I’m working sometimes I’m like ‘I’m hungry, I’m just gonna go grab some tomatoes and raspberries for a snack’, and it’s all just growing right here!” ~ Stan, superstar Oxbow volunteer

Want to volunteer with us? See our list of open opportunities and apply to support habitat conservation, organic farming, and educational opportunities around Oxbow in 2021!