Second Saturdays are a chance to get outside, get moving and connect with people
Norm Ferguson has been a volunteer with the Land Conservancy of West Michigan since 2015. He first heard about the organization on NPR and got hooked on the regular Second Saturday Workdays.
“Justin usually gives a rundown of what Michigan used to be like. It’s fun learning about that stuff, but I also feel like I’m doing something,” he said.
Norm grew up “in the middle of nowhere,” and spent childhood vacations camping and hiking. He joined the Navy right after high school. In 2007, he left the Navy and lived in places all around the country, including the Pacific Northwest. Norm remembers hiking almost every weekend, enjoying the Cascade Mountains’ unparalleled natural vistas and dabbling in landscape photography.
Moving around a lot meant trying many different jobs.
“As far as work goes, I struggled to find something I actually wanted. I think I ended up picking a lot of jobs that just didn’t really mesh with me,” he said.
Now, Norm lives in Greenville with his lab/pit-bull mix, Addy. He took a hiatus from attending workdays when he bought a house and home improvement and maintenance became a priority. But he’s starting to get back into it.
“I’m like halfway retired right now until I decide on something new. It’s been hard to step outside and do stuff on my own, but Second Saturdays are a good excuse to get out and use your body,” he said.
He also appreciates the crowd at the workdays.
“A lot of it for me is just to kind of get out and be more social. Between getting out of the Navy, moving around and everything, I kind of accidentally ended up closing myself off to people,” he said.
As for his next job, Norm is talking with a VA counselor as part of a vocational rehab program.
“They basically set you up with work and any of the training or schooling you need for it. They give you an end point, and you do whatever you need to get there,” Norm said. “I’d kind of like to get into some kind of environment work.”
He is particularly interested in hydrology, having closely followed local events around groundwater contamination and water levels. He is cautiously hopeful about pursuing a career in the field.
“That’s my starting point,” he said. “I’m steering toward that field, but I’m not really sure yet where I’m going to be.”
We are grateful for Norm’s contributions to our Second Saturday Workdays and wish him the best with his career search!