Many Hands...

Written by Chad Thomack
    Thursday, 03 May 2018
Many Hands...

I was enjoying a dinner with my family when I got a call from Beth, our Senior Director of Education and Strategic Planning.

“Chad, I just wanted to give you a heads up that someone got into your bus and sprayed the fire extinguisher all over.” Oh shoot! I totally forgot to lock up my bus at the end of the night and now I am stuck with the repercussions.

Luckily, I didn’t have to teach Monday morning so my mind shuffled around my typical weekly preparations to fit in cleaning the bus.

Monday afternoon, I got out the vacuum and began what was about to be a very arduous cleaning process. Extinguisher dust covers every inch; dashboard, seats, floor — everything!

“No worries,” I tell myself as the vacuum easily sucks it up. But 30 minutes into it, I am only a ¼ of the way from finishing. My thoughts became negative. Why would somebody do this? Why did someone feel this was a good use of their time? Then I shifted my thoughts to the silly things I did as a teenager. Soon I was a bit more relaxed. Although still disappointed in the people who did this, I was maybe a bit more disappointed in myself not locking the door.

As I headed inside for more cleaning supplies, I ran into Ken, our Executive Director, who sensed my mood and offered help. “No, I’m okay. I got this. It was my mistake”, I answered.

I gathered some rags and headed back out only to be followed by several staff members who took a break to help. I was surprised and very grateful. Instead of being given a hard time for my mistake, I was supported. Within 10 minutes it was done! Alone it would have taken so much longer. Many hands do certainly make jobs go more quickly. Not only that, we all had a few laughs and my mood was lifted.

I look at this as a metaphor for how we operate here. There are many tasks we do that take many hands. It is our dedicated volunteers and staff who make this happen. From getting mailings ready to thanking our community supporters, our volunteers are a huge help. As a staff, we donate vacation days to other staff members who are in need, we lend an extra hand at work and celebrate accomplishments. As an educator, I have been supported many times by staff in driving the students. Like a group of crows gathering around a fallen friend, we chip in to make our work lighter and lift each other’s spirits.

From its beginning, Urban Ecology Center has depended on the community to share their talents to make the UEC the vibrant place it is today. So I encourage to you join us in any way you can, even if it is just for a cup of coffee, a quick smile, and relaxing conversation on the couch. Maybe you will be inspired to join our many hands in stuffing envelopes, answering the phone as a receptionist, or assisting with a program or two. Who knows, perhaps with the help of a mentor like YOU, those who chose to create issues with my bus might turn out to be a great ally!

Chad Thomack

Chad Thomack

Chad Thomack, Environmental Educator, has been a staff member of the Urban Ecology Center for over 15 years.  Chad received a biology/wildlife degree from UW Stevens Point and has been teaching about nature ever since.  His hobbies include outdoor adventures like kayaking, mountain biking, trail running and cross country skiing, as well as exercising, reading, playing video games, journaling and gardening.


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