Micah Rowland has been an Identity & Provisioning engineer (Microsoft Office 365) at Xtreme since 2010. Although he has been volunteering for years, this year he believes that he was able to find new meaning in his volunteer work. Through the Xtreme Cares volunteer program, launched in January 2014, Micah submitted his hours to earn grants for the non-profit organizations he is passionate about and worked toward being named Xtreme’s Volunteer of the Year.
Fast forward to December 2014, Micah volunteered close to 300 hours over the course of the year. His dedication led him to be named Xtreme’s top volunteer and awarded him an all-expenses paid week-long volunteer mission, anywhere in the world.
We sat down with Micah to learn a little more about his passions in the community, and the path that lead him to becoming Xtreme’s Volunteer of the Year. Here is what he had to say:
How did you get started with the organizations you volunteer with?
- Sea Shepard – I was first drawn to Sea Shepherd after seeing their work in the Antarctic protecting whales from the illegal whaling fleet out of Japan. I started locally, educating the public and spent time on campaigns, both in the US and in Japan. This year, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a local education center set up in Seattle. I spent almost 200 hours speaking to people about the various issues facing our oceans.
- OceanEarth – While attending the Seattle Dive show early this year, I met Katrina who is the owner of a dive resort in Micronesia. For the past 18 years, they have partnered with OceanEarth to install a mooring buoy system around the island of Kosrae to protect its coral reef. Each year, OceanEarth pairs with volunteer scuba divers to make scientific surveys of the coral reef system. I was intrigued!
Why do you volunteer?
I was raised with the moral philosophy that if you see a problem and don’t act to help, you are part of the problem. I am fortunate to have a wonderful career to support charity work monetarily, however, I realize that often times donating your time is far more valuable. Spending time volunteering has never once felt like a waste, as opposed to the lazy weekends that I often have when I am not volunteering.
What are your passions in the community?
My volunteer work is driven by my passion for the environment, and especially our oceans.
What has been your favorite volunteer experience?
It would be easy to say that my favorite experience was spending time on an island in the middle of nowhere scuba diving on one of the world’s most pristine reefs. But to be honest, the time spent educating the public, seeing the eyes of children light up as they learn about what they can do to help preserve this beautiful environment – that by far was the most rewarding.
Do you have any goals/plans for volunteering in 2015?
It’s still early, but I live very close to a Paws location where they rehabilitate wildlife in addition to finding homes for local dogs and cats. I’ve always wanted to volunteer with them.
What do you like about the Xtreme Cares volunteer program?
I appreciate the efforts to encourage all of us who have so much to do something that reaches beyond ourselves.
Do you know what you want to do on your volunteer trip?
I’m still deciding, but returning to Micronesia as an experienced member of the team ranks high on my list. I’m also currently working with a friend who’s encouraging me to help on a project in Brazil, as well as keeping my ears and eyes open for any opportunities to help on Sea Shepherd campaigns in 2015.