December 5 is International Volunteer Day begun by the United Nations International Volunteer Day. “Every day, volunteers dedicate time and effort to ensure the inclusion of those often left behind, drive climate action and advance the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The UN promotes many “International Days.” Today around the globe, volunteers are recognized.
To all volunteers everywhere, thank you. International Volunteer Day is an opportunity to recognize your contributions to achievements. Volunteers are the heart and soul of WHE. We are grateful to the extraordinary people who offer all that they can and form our organization.
Behind WHE there is a deep love for wild horses, burros and respect for our public lands. People with varied backgrounds, but a similar passion to create real change, are drawn to WHE and join our community. They are the beating heart of all that comes out. From travels to document roundups, to range monitoring forage and water, to helping with litigation, to dogged research, to whistle-blowing, to just for kids, to social media, all in the company of amazing people.
Some fill roles where their work is behind the scenes, while others work in the forefront of public visibility.
In 2021, our volunteers documented many roundups, often being the only observers present. Beginning their journey as roundup observers, many go on to become vital pieces of our Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy (CAWP) team. Our CAWP team has made critical discoveries of the system breakdown that causes a lack of accountability and enforcement of CAWP in 2021. We are the only organization to ever take BLM into a courtroom over abuse, and with the help of our volunteers have continued to build a database that we are utilizing to lay another important path in the ongoing fight against abuse to gain accountability to (already) illegal and repetitive practices.
Our field team continues to document range degradation in drought caused by livestock and mining, but blamed on wild horses. Many on our drought team work in the background. This vital work is helping us make strides through engagement and litigation to gain the critical Herd Management Area Plans (HMAPs) that are simply non-existent. This lack of planning, literally, keeps wild horses and burros simply managed to suit planning for all other interests and not to protect our herds from being crowded out by livestock, mining, recreation and more.
We even have a site created just for kids! WHE Kids: Wild Horses and Burros, a page for kids was created by volunteers for parents to use to help children understand our wild places, wild horses and that the voices of children matter.
Each of us takes the personal journey into the world where our wild horses and burros live. The search for wanting to know more has led us here to this organization.
Thank you WHE for the insights, answers and experiences. It has been the highlight of my life to serve the public interest through you.
The team that is WHE stands ready to Run For The Horses in 2022, no matter what the challenge. A big “thank you!” to all of the volunteers that create a piece of the whole package that is WHE.
Contributed by Colette Kaluza, WHE volunteer.
You can help us continue our innovative work and help keep out teams running for the wild.
Categories: Wild Horse Education