Written by Amanda Barrell
Despite only being a Boy Scout for one day, Jarret Roberts
has had a love for the outdoors since he was little. Roberts was born
and raised in Boulder, Colorado and some of his favorite childhood
memories consist of hiking in the foothills behind his parent’s house
near NCAR, visits to Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, and
In 2009, Roberts heard from one of his friends in the Student
Conservation Assocation about a seasonal position opening up at
Wildlands Restoration Volunteers. His previous experience and knowledge
from working with the City of Boulder Junior Rangers and SCA gave
Roberts an edge and he got the job with WRV.
“WRV is a lot like the Junior Ranger program, but on a much larger
scale,” Roberts said. “Change [that] happens in a weekend would take
three to four months with the Junior Ranger program.”
Reaching out to over 5,000 people, Wildlands Restoration Volunteers
is a non-profit organization that provides an opportunity for people to
come together, learn about their natural environment, and take direct
action to restore and care for the land.
Today, Roberts is the Community Programs Director for WRV, a position
that incorporates training, project planning and marketing. As a
relatively small non-profit, WRV trains and positions their volunteers
as leaders within the organization.
“We rely on volunteer leadership. Fifty percent of what WRV does is
community building, training people and giving them skills so that the
community itself can do the restoration. The other fifty percent of the
time is spent with on-the-ground projects.”
Running over 75 projects each season, WRV hosts 12-20 volunteer
training sessions each spring, helping to train volunteers as crew
leaders, those helping to lead the volunteer groups; tool managers who
manage the tools and equipment; project leaders, those helping to run
the projects who, when trained will run up to eighty to ninety percent
of the projects; technical advisors, who are the ones who plan and
design the actual projects, and cooks.
Because WRV relies so heavily on volunteer interaction and leadership, Roberts admits that no day is ever the same.
“There is no typical day, which is part of what I love about this
job. We all work crazy, crazy hours because we’re working a lot with
volunteers. Probably a third to half my weekends I’m doing something
and a lot of evenings, which is really cool because it gives me
flexibility to take off and go for a hike in the morning.”
Of course, being so passionate about the work that he does, it’s easy for Roberts to find things he enjoys about WRV.
“Working with WRV, most of us love the outdoors or appreciate them,
and we get a benefit from the land, but the land doesn’t benefit from us
using it. It’s a one-way street. This is one of the few opportunities
where it’s beneficial for the land; it’s a symbiotic relationship. I
get to see growth in the environment and growth in people. When those
two things are put together, that’s an unbelievably powerful thing.”
Looking to the future, Roberts is really excited to further
developing the Youth Program within WRV. In the past three years,
they’ve come from bare bones to engaging over 500 youth a year, doing
10-15 projects with them. Wildlands Restoration Volunteers is also
excited about becoming a bigger presence statewide, expanding their
network and connections in Colorado. For more info about getting
involved with Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, visit their website.