Taking Care of Special Places
With the permanent conservation of land, comes the significant responsibility to take care of these special places. The Land Trust’s stewardship team tends to these lands by performing ecological restoration, monitoring, and maintenance to improve the overall conservation values of a site, and facilitating user access in a sustainable manner.
The stewardship team is not only composed of staff but many dedicated volunteers. Work parties are the primary way volunteers care for Land Trust protected properties – both on Conservation Easements and Fee Owned Land. Activities include weed removal, trail maintenance, planting and much more. Volunteers who want to spend even more time helping the land can become a volunteer site steward and adopt one (or more!) of a Land Trust protected property. Site stewards monitor the sites and tackle specialized tasks. They also develop a special connection with their chosen property while acting as eyes and ears for the Land Trust and assisting the stewardship staff. When funding is available, the Land Trust also hires third party crews, particularly when tasks are difficult or require special expertise.
The stewardship team restores many Land Trust protected properties to a healthier ecological state through noxious weed management, native plantings, soil regeneration, and climate change mitigation and adaption. These practices, along with others, help improve the land for wildlife habitat, water quality and drainage, scenic views and public safety. This usually involves soil sampling, planting during the winter and then maintaining those plantings for the next several years.
Monitoring & Maintenance
Whether it’s an annual visit to a conservation easement or regular maintenance of fee owned land, the Land Trust staff and volunteer site stewards are essential for keeping an eye on protected properties. Monitoring every single one of these properties is not only a requirement for the Land Trust accreditation but the only way for the stewardship team to know the different needs of each site. Monitoring involves assessing a site for use and misuse, plant inventory, wildlife and other considerations for keeping the property healthy. Maintenance involves removing hazards and weeds, fixing fences and updating signage.
A key part of the Land Trust’s mission is to connect people to these stunning outdoor places. This is accomplished by providing trails, beach access and bird watching opportunities. With that in mind, the stewardship team focuses a lot of time on maintaining and improving trails, providing clear signage and doing the best to provide positive outdoor experience for recreationists. You can find out about different preserves to visit via our interactive map.
We would love to have you help us care for the land! Join one of the next work party opportunities today!