Our Volunteers Matter

Volunteer Profiles


Yvette Nelson

Volunteering Since: 2009

Yvette Nelson first learned about WPC after a weekend of camping near Lake Pleasant in Erie County. She became a member of the Conservancy after that experience, and to her surprise, her membership came with two discounted passes to tour Fallingwater. She never heard of nor visited Fallingwater before, so while sightseeing in Pittsburgh with friends she decided to visit. During the visit, Yvette was moved to tears. So, when she learned of volunteer opportunities at Fallingwater, she didn’t hesitate to help.

What are your volunteer activities at Fallingwater?

I started at Fallingwater as an Ask Me Guide. I’ve also led landscape tours, worked special events and worked in the Fallingwater Café. I am currently working with the preservation and collections staff on accessioning donations, digitizing files and working on special projects.

How long have you been a volunteer with us and what motivates you to stay involved at Fallingwater?

I think my first experience was in 2009. It’s easy to stay motivated because Fallingwater is simply a magnificent place! The architecture and the setting engage all my senses, which makes Fallingwater "my happy place."

What attracted you to volunteer at Fallingwater?

The first time I went in the house on a tour it was a hot, humid August afternoon and it was gently raining. The feeling was indescribably moving and I stood in the living room in tears. So, when the opportunity to volunteer arose it was a no-brainer. I’m grateful to have been accepted as a volunteer.

What has surprised you most about volunteerng at Fallingwater?

I think the thing that surprised me the most is Fallingwater's worldwide recognition. Our visitors come from all parts of the globe, many specifically to visit Fallingwater.

Tell us about your favorite volunteer experience at Fallingwater?

I can’t pick just one favorite experience, there are too many! Meeting and learning from the staff and other incredibly knowledgeable volunteers, working special events and spending time with residency programs make volunteering anything but work. Above all, I would have to say that getting glimpses of guests’ reactions the first time they see the house is my absolute favorite thing. The gasps, and the looks of awe and wonder take me back to that first time I visited.

What would you tell someone who is interested in volunteering at Fallingwater?

When you love what you do, it’s not work. Volunteering at Fallingwater makes my world bigger, and I could never give more than I get.

What do you do when you’re not volunteering?

I love to travel, especially when it includes the chance to experience the nature and wildlife of a place, particularly observing and seeing birds.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I am a living kidney donor.

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy considers applicants and volunteers without regard to race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, sexual preference, disability, marital status or veteran status.