News & Events

Volunteer Spotlight: Dave Rugh

Author: Jefferson Land Trust | 01/28/16

Dave Rugh

“Super Dave” was already taken, so we hereby dub this local superhero “Indefatigable Dave.” And he definitely gets bonus points for making hard-core volunteering look so fun!

Volunteer superstar Dave Rugh works hard and long to preserve and care for local places that matter. And we mean long. Last year alone, Dave put in hundreds of volunteer hours for the Land Trust. And this year he has taken on even more volunteer jobs for us.

Warning – you might get exhausted just thinking about what we are about to tell you:

Dave shows up regularly at volunteer work parties of all descriptions… He helps provide wonderful events as a member of the guiding committee of the Natural History Society… He gives popular lectures on marine mammals (more than a dozen last year alone!)… He helps lead and coordinate nature walks… He analyzes and prioritizes new land projects as a member of the Conservation Projects Committee… He cares for Donovan Creek Preserve as the property’s dedicated Preserve Steward… He participates in citizen science projects such as last year’s Olympic Fisher Reintroduction Project, and this year will use those skills to monitor wildlife species using Jefferson Land Trust preserves… He is a dedicated co-lead of the Tidelands to Timberline Natural History Course, literally making it possible to offer the popular program this year when we otherwise could not have done so.

Yes, he is our hero. And it takes inspiration to be so committed to local conservation, so we just had to ask him about what fuels his volunteer fire:

What inspired you to volunteer for the Land Trust?

“The Olympic Peninsula is the crown jewel among America’s natural wonders and deserves careful attention to preserve what wildness is still here. Because Jefferson Land Trust is a leader in the conservation of a large part of the Olympic Peninsula, I have looked to the Land Trust for opportunities to help in the preservation of this wonderful environment.”

You have embraced every opportunity offered! Thank you so much. Why is land conservation so important to you?

“All across our planet the human population is growing and spreading. In addition to increased numbers, each person wants more – bigger houses, cars, roads, comforts, and the ensuing infrastructure. What we sacrifice are wilderness areas and wildlife habitat. Conservation programs can strategically protect critical environments before they are lost forever. Human growth can continue even with some areas set aside as preserves, but without the wilds, life quality will shrivel, and we will be left to regret our rampant desire for more.”

You clearly understand the importance of the places we’re working to protect. On a personal level, what places are most special to you, and why?

“Most appealing to me – and to many people – is a mix of habitats. Therefore, we find real pleasure in seeing forests bordering meadows and marshes near creeks and bays with a background of undulating mountains. A prime example of this mix is found in the Lower Donovan Creek Preserve, a marshland surrounded by scattered (though young) forest and agricultural land. Donovan Creek now wanders (thanks to remeandering efforts in a rehabilitation program) through the meadow and merges with Quilcene Bay in tidal marshes that surge high and low each day. Wildlife abounds in this mix of habitats.”

Is there a particularly meaningful moment or experience in nature that stands out for you?

“High on the slopes of Glacier Peak in the Cascades, well away from the beaten path, there is an alpine meadow with a crystal clear creek. After splashing your face in the cool water and drinking deeply, stand up and look to your right across a wide valley filled with a steep glacier descending from the rocky summit spires. Then turn to your left and let your eyes follow the undulating meadows up the mountain until they disappear into rocky terrain and rugged cliffs. Now turn around and below you is a great sweep of a wild valley coated with old growth forest. Nowhere can you see a road, a house, or a car; the only sounds are from the gurgling brook and a rush of wind across the meadow. Sweet are the aromas of flowers and grass in the fresh mountain air. So this is heaven!”

Thank you, Dave- for sharing your inspiration, and for everything you do to preserve open space and habitat. You make a huge difference!