Volunteer Spotlight: Larry and Delilah Watson
Volunteer preserve steward Larry Watson of Wabash, Indiana, describes his service as a “win-win.” Helping to care for ACRES properties and keep the trails clear for visitors is a way for him to give back while spending time in nature. He stewards Seven Pillars Nature Preserve, Kokiwanee and Hanging Rock National Natural Landmark.
“I was always raised to give back — your time, your talent, your money — to a cause that you believe in,” Watson said. “You don’t have to earn a buck for everything.” His childhood was filled with outdoor adventure like camping and visiting state parks, and although he didn’t always enjoy it at the time, he looks back on it fondly. As an adult, spending time in nature feels spiritual and restorative.
“It’s a connection with our Creator. It helps you recharge,” he said.
Watson has a special appreciation for each ACRES preserve. At Seven Pillars, he enjoys the challenging new trail that connects the new parking lot with the existing trail. At Kokiwanee, he appreciates the diversity of habitat types. Hanging Rock has an interesting history.
“What’s neat about the preserves is each has a little something different to offer. So is there a favorite? Not really. They’re all great!”
In addition to stewarding three properties, Watson and his family — his wife Delilah and their three children — often lend a hand at volunteer workdays and help with special projects. Last summer, Larry and Delilah Watson, along with other volunteers, helped ACRES clear the trail at Fogwell Forest after a strong windstorm downed numerous trees, many were more than four feet in diameter.
“We couldn’t believe how much damage had occurred. It was a lot of work to open the trails.”
Watson said the experience was an “enjoyable challenge.” It feels good to know he is helping inspire people to support ACRES’ mission to protect local land.
“The reason we have the trails to begin with, and the reason I like maintaining the trails, is people get out there, they hike the trails, they see what ACRES is, they get connected with nature and maybe they help ACRES expand their mission.”
Thank you to Larry and the Watson family for volunteering with ACRES and keeping our preserves healthy and beautiful!