My Nonprofit Reviews

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Review for Great River Greening, Saint Paul, MN, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Great River Greening is by far one of the best organizations I have volunteered with. They really appreciate and value their volunteers, and get you up and working quick. It never feels like they are wasting your time, there is always important, vital work to be done.
They help to restore native plant communities, and the health of the soil and water in important and vulnerable natural areas along the Mississippi, Minnesota, and St Croix rivers.
They are able to attract and manage a large number of volunteers. It is very encouraging to see such a vast number of volunteers showing up on a weekend to help save a portion of the planet.
Normally we are cutting out buckthorn, and hauling brush. It's a very good workout, and you get a visceral understanding of the unique environment of the site - true "hands on learning".
Working in a crew, you get to meet like-minded people, and everyone has a unique perspective or factoid to share. I love how community is created while at the same time "real" work is being accomplished - invasive plant species are ripped out, native plants and wildlife habitat is allowed to flourish, and at the end of the day, everyone knows they did something good.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I see the before and after effects during the work day - when we start, there is a forest choked with buckthorn and invasive species - when we are done, you can finally see into the forest, and imagine what it looked like 100 years ago, and what it will hopefully look like after the native plants are seeded and begin to grow. I can imagine a few years from now, visiting a site I worked at, it would be very rewarding to see people and animals enjoying a site that has been rehabilitated.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The focus on clean water and native plant communities is very important, and this benefit to human life is unmistakable. Additionally, I would stress the importance of these things on our native wildlife, some of which are hard-pressed these days to find suitable habitat to thrive in.

Would you volunteer for this group again?


For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?


What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

I like working on projects that are closer to home - although I have learned a lot by going out to areas further afield. For example, I had no idea there were Sand Dunes in Anoka County until I restored a portion of Oak Savanna there. I have spent so much time destroying invasive species, it would be nice to spend at least an equivalent amount of time planting native trees, shrubs, and forbs.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Every site is different, and there is an amazing diversity of native plant communities around here. I have worked on oak savannas, calcareous fens, prairies, and Maple-Basswood forests. Reading about these in books is good, but actually getting out into these areas, having an ecologist explaining the project, and then physically laboring in them, you really get to know the geology, ecology, and plant/animal life. Plus, there comes to be some camaraderie with fellow restorationists as you work together on various sites over the years.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Even when you feel like you're too busy, and there's no way you could fit in a day of clearing brush out of an Oak Savanna - once you do it, you can really see that you made a difference at the site. You feel good, you feel like you really accomplished something - if not for the whole world, at least for that tiny spot on the earth, and the people and animals that will enjoy it for many years to come.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Volunteer & I have served in a few functions. As a volunteer worker, I have ripped out buckthorn, and hauled and stacked brush. As a volunteer supervisor, I have helped lead work crews, making sure volunteers had clear instructions on what to do, and that they had .