This Week: Karen Feary
by Lara Gale (Moab Sun News)-
For some people, the mere existence of a mountain is enough to create a sense that there’s an adventure to be had.
After a lifetime of recreating, volunteering and working outdoors, Karen Feary began making plans to seize the adventure ahead when she saw retirement soaring on her horizon. A well-timed job offer with the Bureau of Land Management brought her to Moab, and within a few years, she was on her way to the retirement she had envisioned, completely immersed in a high-energy community.
Volunteer work is nothing new to Feary, who volunteered extensively in Colorado and Idaho before she moved to Moab. Her work as a volunteer firefighter and a backcountry wilderness volunteer was extremely satisfying, she said. She contributed her forestry expertise in Idaho, as well, supporting faculty and staff at the University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources as an advisory board member.
Now with more time, in a community that thrives on its natural beauty and the creative expression it inspires, she has ventured into new territory as a volunteer. When she saw the Moab Taiko Dan drummers perform at the Moab Art Festival over Memorial Day weekend a few years ago, she was intrigued. She began practicing with them, and in 2012, she was one of 18 drummers filling Star Hall with the intense rhythm of their 20th anniversary celebration.
“I look for things to get involved in that interest me,” she said. “I find all of these things intellectually stimulating.”
To remain connected with the energy of students and faculty, she still works part time as a classroom facilitator at Utah State University-Moab’s Extension office. She works in the evenings so that she can maximize her time involved in all of the fun things there are to do in Moab, she said.
In addition to volunteering as a drummer and a race marshal for Moab Half Marathon’s events, she has worked for the Dancing with the Moab Stars benefit for the Moab Valley Multicultural Center, Scots on the Rocks and the Moab Music Festival.
Her energetic commitment is a tremendous help to the causes she supports, Moab Music Festival Administrative Assistant and Box Office Manager Janet Landon said.
Landon’s first season with the festival felt overwhelming at first, she said, and Feary’s experience and willingness to help when and wherever needed was a tremendous help. Feary not only helped with ticket sales and office work; she also helped Landon recruit and coordinate volunteers.
“She would basically do anything anyone asked her to do during the festival – which is high-level intensity for 10 days,” Landon said. “I’ve heard it through the grapevine that wherever she volunteers, she is just as committed and dependable.”
Feary looks forward with an open mind and eager anticipation of volunteer experiences going forward. As well as continuing with the causes she has already supported, she’s considering the possibility of working with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Wherever she heads next, she said she looks forward to reaching new heights.