Losing a team member is always hard. Losing a team member in a small team is even harder. And losing a team member that has helped develop, improve, and grow almost every program, over half of the organization’s existence? Well, that’s the worst.
After 5 years at City Fruit, we are both devastated and excited to announce that Natalie Place is moving on. In her tenure, she has coordinated thousands of volunteers; served hundreds of youth; and certified almost 100 Master Fruit Tree Stewards. She has coordinated countless logistics, never hiding from the near-constant stream of small tasks that need stewarding in a small organization.
And, more than that, she has been an incredible colleague to all who have passed through these doors (or trees). She has shown up every day, ready to work and excited to support this team. She has never once stopped trying to improve the design and quality of our programming, striving to ensure that everyone feels welcomed into Seattle’s collective orchard.
Yesterday, I interviewed two returning students in our Harvest Crew partnership with Walk Away City Collaborative. They each independently described Natalie in the same way:
“Natalie is so cool. I learned so much from her. Before Natalie, I didn’t know anything about fruit trees. And now I see them everywhere and I know how much they can do”
She has had that same effect of thousands of Seattle-ites, including her co-workers. Natalie: we will miss you! Thank you for caring so much about this work and this community. And, best of luck in your next work – may you continue to leave a strong wake, wherever you go.