Volunteering at Woodchuck Hill Preserve last spring
CNY Land Trust’s Stewardship Committee:
Interested in joining this committed crew? Everyone is welcome and meetings are held monthly, typically at 4:30 pm. For more information call 315-575-8839 or EMAIL to receive a volunteer application form.
The Importance of Stewardship:
The Central New York Land Trust owns over 3,000 acres of land in our community. Ownership of land is one thing. Stewardship of the land is another, and a very important piece of the Central New York Land Trust mission. Through contributions, Central New York Land Trust will be able to make the properties that we own even better places to visit. This is why stewards are so important.
Stewards are individuals who visit their assigned properties at least monthly, but many times more than that. Three important areas they handle are management, monitoring, and improvements. Each preserve has its own management plan, where history and ecological areas are noted, goals are developed, photos are taken and actions are noted. These plans are updated annually. Monitoring is an ongoing process, ensuring that the land is being cared for in the best way (no dumping, invasive species are under control, land-use policies are being followed, etc.). As we make property improvements, such as a parking lot, a kiosk, benches, signs, trails, and boardwalks, a property evolves to more public use status.
We have over 100 volunteers involved in our stewardship activities – but we can always use more. Becoming a steward is a great way to get outdoors, meet new people, and help save the land.
See below for an example of people involved in our program:
Volunteer Spotlight: John Barr
John Barr called up the Central New York Land Trust after he retired. He had seen the land trust signs at some of his favorite wild places and thought he wanted to volunteer. That was five years ago. Today, John is one of the land trust’s “floating stewards,” in that he helps out at multiple locations, and is always on call and available for projects such as trail marking, boundary marking, building boardwalks, planting trees, creating trail maps, installing sign posts, etc.
John has done a lot of work out at Woodchuck Hill preserve, as well as work at Pleasant Valley, Camillus Valley, Marie’s Woods, Old Fly Marsh, Three Falls Woods, Austin Preserve, and more. According to John, Old Fly Marsh might just be his favorite place – as it’s a really good birding spot.
“John does a remarkable job documenting boundary postings and updating trail maps” states stewardship leadership; “these documents contribute to the accuracy of the records and greatly increases the value of the Management Plans.”
When asked what he might tell others looking to be a land steward, John says, “As a volunteer, I’m always amazed that in order to make an impact, you don’t have to volunteer days or weeks; a little time goes a long way and makes a big difference.” When John’s not volunteering, he is an active hiker, birder and bicyclist.
Volunteer Spotlight: Peter Huntington
Peter Huntington has been involved with the land trust since 1970 when it was “Save the County”. He walked with his family in many of Save the County fundraising walks; his oldest son even got bitten by a harmless snake on one of the walks.
According to Peter, “I originally became involved because of my love of nature and the need to preserve our natural environment. My main function as a steward is to maintain well marked and easy to walk trails. I also try to be an advocate for the land trust preserve system. I aspire to remove as many invasive plants as possible from Tracy Lake Preserve which is no small feat!”
Jack Gramlich, Co-Chair of the Stewardship Committee, states “Peter has been a very valuable steward for our land trust. He is always looking out for Tracy Lake, whether it is recruiting Boy Scouts for trail work, pulling invasive plants or monitoring the preserve.”
Since he has worked there for years, Tracy Lake is his favorite preserve, although he says he also loves Baltimore Woods!. Says Peter, “volunteering for the land trust makes me feel that I am helping to preserve our natural world, which needs all the help it can get.”