The “Bumbling Landowner” is back with her “bomba”*

By: Lilly Briggs
May 16, 2022

The last time I wrote about being the “Bumbling Landowner,” I was nearly eight months pregnant. The baby I was carrying inside me then is now just over eight months old, and she accompanied me on my most recent Bumbling Landowner adventure.

Let me remind you that I self-apply the “Bumbling Landowner” label with the same affection I apply organic fertilizer to our trees with that “bomba.”* It is my reminder to not take myself too seriously and to instead be a bit more playful about the fact that whenever we take on any new challenge in life—in my case, being a landowner in another country—we usually (always) feel a bit bumbling. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s a good thing. When I think about the experiences that most stretched me and helped me grow over the course of my life, they were also the times I felt like I was fumbling in the dark outside of my comfort zone.

But I digress, since that’s not actually what I want to write about today. I want to answer the question: why did it take me so long to get back out in the field? It wasn’t because having a baby can be a bit of a distraction. And it wasn’t because I was worried about stumbling and feeling stupid. I’m being honest when I say that the Bumbling Landowner nickname (or rather, the self-reflection that produced it) has helped me shed many insecurities about not knowing how to do everything perfectly, and just doing it anyway.

So what was going on?

Since I first became interested in Nature and environmental education as a little girl, I have enjoyed all the associated action “-ings”. Be-ING outside, observ-ING animals and plants, teach-ING people about why it is important we all care about this planet, gett-ING my hands dirty, etc. Something that didn’t occur to me when I decided to launch and direct my own environmental organization is how many other “-ings” would take over the week.

Manag-ING. Fundrais-ING. And many, many meet-INGS.

This is by no means intended to be a blog of complain-ING. Like being a novice landowner, I am grateful for all the interesting and challenging experiences that have come along with the new territory of being a novice director. I continue to stretch and grow in so many good ways. 

But in the midst of Zoom calls, administrative tasks and spreadsheets—all which have their important place—I don’t want to miss out on connecting to conservation work in the ways that are most meaningful to me. Which is why I intend to start grabbing that bomba again, connecting with the trees as I get my hands dirty, and continuing to learn, even if I might be bumbling.

*The translation I found for “bomba” in English is a mouthful: “Backpack Poly Sprayer.” The one in this picture along with me and my daughter is full of organic fertilizer made by Carla Azofeifa, our Environmental Education Coordinator who is currently leading our agroecology efforts.

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