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A Day on the Landscape: The Importance of Volunteering at Taliesin Preservation:
By Logan Godfrey
Volunteering offers an opportunity to contribute to a cause and create meaning. The sense of being a part of something bigger than yourself and the abundance of other benefits makes volunteering an activity with positive effects for many. Not only does volunteering help Taliesin Preservation, but it also offers much to gain for the volunteer, including contributing to a larger goal, being a part of a community, or getting a chance to stay active! Volunteers are drawn to an organization or cause by shared interests, and whether it be a casual small talk or a longer-term friendship, being part of a community provides many rewards.
On top of the usual benefits that come with volunteering, Taliesin Preservation offers unique opportunities that most gigs don’t. Volunteers get behind the scenes views of the estate, including some not offered on tour. Simply being on the estate, enjoying the architecture and rolling hills of the Driftless region, is a peace worth experiencing. Volunteering offers a unique experience to enjoy the views on your own time while actively contributing to maintaining and preserving a magnificent naturally and culturally significant place.
In my own experience, the opportunity to view the estate from behind the scenes, including some awesome views of upstairs as well as great insight from staff, was worth the trip on its own. As a nature lover, I could have spent all day working, cleaning up growth, and trimming weeds. The peace that comes with being surrounded by a beauty like that is hard to come by and something that I can’t overstate. The presence of being on the estate working the land, feeling like you’re contributing to its beauty in some sense, is a fulfilling experience. On top of that, between small talk and getting extreme in-depth knowledge about the estate, working close-by (masked up!) others drawn to the estate for the same reasons, and interacting with employees who tend the grounds was a dream for a curious mind.
I went to volunteer on the estate to help out with some landscaping and talk to other volunteers about their experiences, what drew them to volunteering at Taliesin, and what they get out of volunteer work.
Peter Marshall has been coming to Taliesin to volunteer since 2017, and the things that drew him here in the first place are many of the same things that keep him coming back years later. The opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of the estate while helping maintain and increase that beauty for others is one of the main draws that makes volunteering at Taliesin Preservation a special experience. Peter himself had an opportunity to do just that when he first started, in what he called “a really cool project opening up views of Talieisin and the Wisconsin River.”
Volunteering at Taliesin Preservation offers the opportunity to do what you want and cater the experience to what you enjoy. Whether you’re volunteering to contribute to a larger cause, to get outside and socialize, or to enjoy the landscape and architecture while doing some light work, there’s an opportunity for everyone. For Peter, it’s a mixture of everything.
“I like Frank Lloyd Wright stuff, so having the cultural part, working outside, and helping make it more beautiful…working with a good group of people, Peter said. “So there’s community…doing something to attempt to make the landscape more beautiful and natural if possible. Working with a good community of people just makes it all the more enjoyable.”
Sharing experiences is one of the fundamental aspects of being human. The chance to learn in the meantime is extra special. Between the grounds staff giving me insights into the surrounding land and behind-the-scenes knowledge of the estate, and Peter casually naming indigenous plant-species as we walked around the estate, there is no shortage of things to see or learn. Whether you stop by once, or carve out some time every Thursday to come by the estate, aiding the land is one of the best and most grounding ways to experience the land.