Lesley Halinaty - January 2022
Started February 2016
Lesley started volunteering in animal care at WindReach in 2016. She had recently retired from a rewarding teaching career and wanted to continue her journey as a lifelong learner and find another way to contribute to the community. Lesley wanted to go back to her first love, which was working with animals.
Before long, Lesley was involved in the Beyond the Farm Gate program, occasional help with Horticulture Therapy and the Heritage Wool programs at the Farm, along with her usual Animal Care shifts.
WindReach first impressed Lesley when she visited with her class one year. After that, she frequently visited the Farm with a friend who let her help out with occasional chores in the barn. “Just the sight of those little lambs in sweaters, the sounds of contented chickens in the coop, and the quiet munching of animals in the barn seemed to make my day better. I knew I wanted to volunteer to care for them upon retirement,” says Lesley. She also wanted to share that same sense of calm and enjoyment with other visitors to the Farm and perhaps even share a bit of knowledge and appreciation for nature, the animals, WindReach, and the hard work that farmers do for our benefit. Lesley enjoys the interaction with visitors, staff, and volunteers at the Farm. It makes her happy to see how inclusive and friendly the place is and how much it empowers and enlivens the spirits of those who participate in the many programs WindReach offers.
Lesley has learned many things about caring for the animals on the Farm under the patient guidance of farmer Eleanor, and BFG coordinator Sara, and she is working on her skills in the Heritage Wool program with many capable and caring supporters. She never thought she’d take up spinning, but found that it has been an exciting challenge to learn. She hopes she can contribute more to the program as she develops her skills. Lesley finds that it’s so rewarding to be part of the cycle - feeding the sheep, helping with lambing, seeing the shearing, and participating in the entire process from “sheep to shawl”.
Lesley has so many memorable moments while volunteering at WindReach that it is impossible to pick just one. She finds that every shift brings a surprise, some delight, some challenges, and always a sense of peace and contentment at the end of the day. “Sometimes, the hours are long - especially when you’re on watch for a lamb to be born. But, when that lamb gets named after you, well, what could be better than that,” replies Lesley.
“Oh, and did I mention? Fun fact: I’ve fallen totally in love with chickens! Who knew??” laughs Lesley.
Thank you, Lesley, for all that you do at WindReach Farm.
One person CAN make a difference!