April Volunteer Spotlight: Tracy Eales

Happy Earth Month! We're celebrating one of our most versatile volunteers.

Some volunteers commit to one activity or one preserve. Tracy Eales stands apart because she’s willing to do it all! She’s volunteered at our front desk, with our Gratitude Team, is a star Conservation Ambassador and a regular at our Stewardship work parties. On top of that, she frequently offers new ideas for improving the volunteer experience. She’s a rare second generation TNC supporter: Her father served on the board for our Pennsylvania chapter! Tracy has been an active volunteer with us since 2012, and we can always count on her. Thank you, Tracy!

View of Perego's Lagoon and Admiralty Inlet from the Loop Trail at Ebey's Landing, Tracy's favorite Washington preserve. Photo by Don Macanlalay.

View of Perego's Lagoon and Admiralty Inlet from the Loop Trail at Ebey's Landing, Tracy's favorite Washington preserve. Photo by Don Macanlalay.

The Nature Conservancy: What does nature mean to you?

Tracy Eales: To me, Nature (capitalized on purpose) provides the way in which we stay TRULY connected to this world we live in. It helps me stay grounded and helps me feel alive. Think of those moments when there is a lot going on in our lives and when we start to feel over-whelmed or sad or even ecstatically happy! What I have witnessed so many people do is GO OUTSIDE and take a BIG BREATH of FRESH AIR. That’s what I do at least. It is Nature that provides us with this air, the ground that we walk on, the critters that we see and hear, the plants that we grow or eat, the water that we swim in or drink. We HAVE to take care of it if we want to survive and thrive.

TNC: When did you first know you wanted to make a difference as a volunteer?

Tracy: I can’t say I have a first memory because it has always been something that I have wanted to do…volunteering for me hasn’t been about “well, I should volunteer now to give back” – it has been more about feeling like there is no other choice – I HAVE to do this because it’s the world that I live in and on, it’s the world that I want to tell others about so they will hopefully feel compelled to give back in whatever way they can.

TNC: What inspired you to start volunteering with us?

Tracy: My parents made TNC a part of my life, and I know what a fantastic organization it is – I’ve seen the work that people have done with TNC most of my life.

TNC: How does volunteering make you feel?

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Tracy: It makes me feel hopeful (and like I’m making a difference) because I get to talk to people that might otherwise not be as engaged with nature. By the end of a discussion, they seem inspired to either volunteer or donate. It feels good to help get the word out about what TNC does GLOBALLY! That has to be my favorite part when I talk to people – I love saying how far-reaching TNC is around the world.

TNC: What is your favorite Nature Conservancy preserve or project?

Tracy: I haven’t been to all the TNC preserves, but I really like Ebey’s Landing because I love walking along the bluff and looking out to the ocean, rain or shine. In fact, it’s time for a trip up there!

TNC: Who is your environmental hero?

Tracy: My environmental heros are my parents! Even without them I probably would have been connected to nature, but they raised me and my brother with a deep appreciation for the world around us. They have always been into gardening, camping, canoeing, and most importantly, BIRDING!  Having VERY avid birding parents meant that my brother and I had to spend at least one weekend day (not always but A LOT) going to a local nature preserve to do, guess what? BIRD!  They would ply us with Oreo cookies so we wouldn’t rebel.  But it paved the way for both my brother and me to really like being out in nature, doing whatever. As birders, my parents have traveled the globe and have been on all continents… and their birding stories are always fun to hear (birders tend to be an odd bunch). I am very proud of and grateful for the parents I have and I hope to live up to their example as stewards of Nature, as they have done all their lives!

TNC: What is your volunteer role?  How long have you been volunteering with The Nature Conservancy?  Do you volunteer anywhere else?

Tracy: I tend to like to have my hands in many different volunteers “roles” – anything from going to the Central Cascades Forest preserve last summer to re-plant trees where the fires were so devastating, to calling to thank recent donors or members, to volunteering at public events like Pride Fest or Salmon Days. My most recent and favorite volunteer “gig” was at the Prairie Appreciation Days near Olympia. I LOVED that place and that day even though it was rainy most of the event!  I also volunteer at the Ballard Food Bank and have done some volunteering for Dignity for Divas.

TNC: Where are you from?  How long have you been living in Washington?

Tracy: I grew up outside of Philadelphia, PA and I moved here in 1994! I am almost a west coast “native” now!