Join the 300+ volunteers who help make Riverwood a beautiful oasis in the heart of Mississauga. Whether our volunteers are planning events, participating on a committee or the board of directors, pulling invasive weeds, planting trees and flowers, stuffing envelopes or assisting the teachers, they make a difference! Each volunteer contribution is unique and vital to the success of TRC.
Focus on Volunteers: David and Susan Aiken
Written by Annebelle Esguerra
“We love listening to the silence at The Riverwood Conservancy (TRC).” David & Susan Aiken
Husband and wife volunteer team David & Susan Aiken have been married since 1992, but they have been a team longer than that. Both retired, David was a lawyer who specialized in general law while Susan was an Accountant in the same law firm. Hence, they are an excellent example of what it means “to get along and work well together”.
Their house in Port Credit, shared with their beloved cat, Tammy, backs into a woodlot filled with trees and rare native plants. It was not surprising then that they immediately signed up to volunteer with the TRC’s Native Plant Program (NP3) when they heard about it two years ago.
Although very knowledgeable about native plants, David & Susan were both effusive in their praise for the NP3 staff and special advisers (volunteers). They credited these plant specialists with providing them with valuable and “fun facts” about these plants. As Susan put it, the facts shared by the staff, drawing on their incredible knowledge, “make the plants come to life.” For example, in a Tree Farm Visit arranged by the NP3, they saw the actual progression from seed to ground of some native trees. Consequently, they developed a deeper respect for those involved in tree farming.
While working as a pair in the bird feeding program and participating in the various hiking activities, David and Susan talked of meeting so many wonderful people – of hobby photographers showing them their magnificent pictures of TRC’s many inhabitants and of anglers spiritedly discussing and lamenting the lack of funding for the nearby fish hatchery.
They proudly related how they influenced a young man to volunteer at TRC; and how this young man successfully convinced his school to donate the proceeds of a fund raising event to TRC.
They also talked of unique encounters with birds like when five chickadees decided to simultaneously feed from Susan’s hand or of a rambunctious racoon rolling inside a garbage can until he unwrapped a whole chicken roast dinner!
But they reserved their best praise for the Volunteer Program and staff of TRC. They have experienced how TRC puts value on their volunteers – volunteers are made to feel that they are giving something back while having the flexibility to choose from various activities suited to their interests.
And finally, when the “noise” in the city becomes overwhelming, David and Susan said they will always treasure the “silence” at TRC. Indeed, it is a welcome relief and stress reliever.
Photo above: Jon Eldridge, Judith Harris,
Murray Moore, Susan Aiken, David Aiken
Join our Volunteer Team and make a difference!
Focus on Volunteers: Trishia Kluge
"Volunteering is primarily doing it for you. When you get pleasure from it, you are able to give pleasure to others!" Trishia Kluge
Feisty and vigilant are the words that come to my mind when describing Trishia coupled with an endearing sense of humour.
I first met Trishia doing reception duties at The Riverwood Conservancy's (TRC) 2016 Garden Soirée. No one can get past her – not even the Mississauga Mayor! More importantly, while as a Door Monitor, I allowed a Board Member to bring a questionable drink to a "no alcoholic drink area"; Trishia raced after her to check on her drink!
As Number 27 member of The Riverwood Conservancy, Trishia was and is a force in many of TRC's programs – she has been a volunteer for nearly 20 years! With many wonderful memories, it was therefore difficult for her to actually highlight those that stood out.
Trishia first came to Toronto as an intern with the Toronto Public Libraries. The daughter of a British military man, Trishia moved around as young girl. But six months into her one year internship in Toronto, she decided to set up roots in the city. Her decision was solidified when she met Hans, a German immigrant like herself. They were married in 1977.
Although Hans was never an official TRC volunteer himself, he was always a silent supporter, driving Trishia to her many volunteer activities. Hans also paired with her in the bird feeding program.
After retirement in 2002 from the Mississauga Public Libraries, Trishia became more involved with TRC and other volunteer programs like the Mississauga Symphony Book Sale and of course with the Mississauga Library System delivering books to the homebound.
What motivates Trishia to do all of these activities? It appears to be a self-actualizing endeavour for her – it allows her to be outdoors and to meet interesting people. When she became a widow, she intrinsically knew Hans would want her to make something of her life. For her, volunteering gives her pleasure which she is then able to share with others.
Trishia believes there is something for everyone at TRC – there are so many options to contribute one's skills and one can be indoors or outdoors to add value to this wonderful oasis in the midst of the city.
And when Trishia says so, with a smile and a self-deprecating humour, you better believe so!
Consider joining Trishia and our wonderful team of volunteers!