August Volunteer of the Month: Chuck Yandell
Written By: Amanda Alger
TreeFolks has the pleasure of introducing another one of our dedicated Planting Supervisors, Chuck Yandell. Chuck has been consistently volunteering with TreeFolks since October 2015 when he took the joint Habitat Stewards and Urban Forest Steward trainings and certifications through our organization. Chuck came into these trainings with the goal of learning more about the plants and animals around his house and in his expansive yard. Little did he know he would get hooked on TreeFolks’ fun-loving and caring atmosphere and would still be volunteering years later! On the graduation day of his certifications, Chuck supervised a tree planting and he’s been a committed Planting Supervisor ever since.
Chuck has called our beloved city of Austin his home for the past 18 years. Formerly, he lived in California, experiencing both temperate and sunny southern California and the foggy and chill San Francisco area. No matter where he lives, Chuck has always loved the outdoors. He enjoys the desert and forests equally, marveling in the stark differences between these landscapes and the wildlife support. He especially loves all the life that grows in and around trees, promoting a rich diversity of plant and animal life. When asked if he has a favorite tree around town, Chuck declares that his favorite tree is the next new tree he plants at his house. His newest additions are Peach and Lemon trees, yum! When he’s not out planting trees in the community and his yard, Chuck spends most of his time on home repair and upgrade projects. A few items on his long list includes a new bathroom, a new roof, and trying to convert his front yard into a Texas meadow. By converting his front yard into a Texas meadow, Chuck is helping to restore native grasses and plants and will create a habitat for local wildlife and pollinators.
Chuck takes the TreeFolks mission of empowering Central Texans to build stronger communities through planting and caring for trees to heart. He is a model teacher and inclusive of all ages and abilities at planting events, taking care and extra time to make sure everyone feels comfortable and confident planting trees. He has also said that he loves watching people learn about trees and gain the confidence to plant their own trees and to share their new knowledge with others. With patience and joy, Chuck has helped new volunteers grow from fearful of touching the dirt and potential bugs, to independently planting 5-gallon trees and being able to identify multiple tree species over the course of a single tree planting event. It is no wonder that with his attitude of education and giving that Chuck has made so many friends through TreeFolks and other like-minded volunteer groups around Austin.
In addition to volunteering with TreeFolks, Chuck also is an active volunteer with Keep Austin Beautiful, Adopt-a-Park, and National Wildlife events. He has also helped at Zilker Park and Habitat, with a great interest in the butterfly garden. If you have any questions about native plants and pollinators, be sure to ask him at the next TreeFolks event! Through TreeFolks, Chuck participates as a Planting Supervisor, volunteers at tree adoption events, and helps plant trees at people’s homes as part of the NeighborWoods program. We all thank Chuck for the hard work he puts in helping to sort, load, and unload the 1,000+ 5-gallon trees (per event!) that TreeFolks gives away throughout the planting season. Despite the heavy lifting, Chuck’s favorite events are these tree adoption events where he gets to help spread his love for trees and green spaces with the Austin community. He also loves the TreeFolks parties as a chance to unwind and enjoy the company of his fellow volunteers.
“The TreeFolks people, all the other supervisors, and meeting the volunteers always enriches my life with their joy for life, positive attitudes, and desire to help the forest. I always enjoy learning why the volunteers come out to plant trees.” – Chuck Yandell