It’s National Volunteer Week and to celebrate, we’re kicking off a monthly Volunteer Spotlight blog series highlighting the most dedicated of the Accokeek Foundation’s Volunteer Team.
This month’s Spotlight is Terrie-Lea Blueitt, a Livestock Farmhand and Bluebird Monitor. She joined the volunteer team in 2012, and since then has dedicated an impressive 270 hours. Rain or shine, we can count on Terrie-Lea’s enthusiasm in the barnyard, and she always lends a helping hand during special events and educational programs such as Celebrating the Potomac and Lattes with Lambs. She has also become a leader in the Farmhands group as she helps Livestock Manager, Polly Festa, train and orient new volunteers, in addition to taking on feeding duties when Polly is out of town.
We interviewed both Terrie-Lea and Polly about their experiences working together. Check out what they had to say below!
1.) How long have you been a volunteer at the Accokeek Foundation? What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I’ve been volunteering at Accokeek Foundation for three years now. I told someone the other day it was four years and when I checked, I was surprised it was only three…..I guess I just feel at home here at the farm.
2.) What is your favorite part about volunteering at the Accokeek Foundation?
I continue to be here really because of Polly. The animals are the reason I decided to volunteer, but Polly’s knowledge and her fun personality is why I stay. People can make or break any situation, but Polly gets me. She challenges me often, but she lets me be me and she trusts me, which means the world to me.
3.) What do you know now about Heritage Livestock that you didn’t know when you first started volunteering?
Polly taught me everything I know with my work here at the farm and has helped me to work smarter, not harder. She’s also very passionate about her Heritage Livestock and her mission at the farm. She’s a tough little gal and I greatly appreciate everything she does and all of the knowledge I’ve gained from this experience. But I especially appreciate her friendship.
4.) How has volunteering impacted your life?
I knew nothing about Heritage Livestock prior to coming to the farm, but what a cool deal to be responsible for increasing a population of livestock that would otherwise disappear, without organizations like Accokeek Foundation. What a cool mission.
5.) Can you tell us about a memorable experience you had while volunteering at the foundation?
Every Saturday brings new experiences and the birth of the baby cows and the baby sheep are by far the most exciting part. It was so cool to see Mama Bliss lead us to the barn to have her little one and then Mama Lynn (I think) wouldn’t have anything to do with going to the barn and had her baby in the woods. It’s just a very cool place and I feel so blessed to have found this wonderful place.
1.) How long have you been working with Terrie-Lea?
I think 3 years now, but you would have to check on that.
2.) How has working with Terrie-Lea affected the Livestock Program?
Having a regular, dependable set of extra hands on Saturday means I can get done all of the projects I have that require more than one person. She’s very dedicated to the program and brings enthusiasm for it every weekend.
3.) Can you tell us about a memorable experience you’ve had while working with Terrie-Lea?
I’m not sure if I should tell this one or not, but one time Terrie-Lea and I were up at maintenance taking a load to the dumpster. Terrie was on the ground and I was in the back of the truck unloading when the truck started to slide down the hill. I started yelling and Terrie jumped into the cab and slammed on the emergency brake just in time. It’s always an adventure on the farm!
4.) Do you have anything else to add?
Terrie’s like the Captain of the Farmhands, and we’ve become really good friends over the years. I really enjoy her company and we often catch up and hang out after work.
On behalf of the entire Accokeek Team, THANK YOU TERRIE-LEA! We really appreciate all that you’ve done and continue to do for the Accokeek Foundation and the community!