August 24, 2022
I have been the Summer Land Steward at the preserves this year. I came to the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy following a little over a year and a half of work as a geologist for a large environmental consulting firm in the area. I was looking to get involved in the business of protecting and cherishing nature, and I figured a seasonal position with the Conservancy would be a great way to pivot from the corporate atmosphere and return to my passions for nature and the outdoors.
Throughout the summer, I logged quite a few lonesome hours with the trusty weed whackers and the slightly less-than-trusty DR mower on the preserves. I also removed a few kiosk roofs to be replaced by the talented metal worker, Bob, participated in various trail improvement workdays, including an intricate rainwater diversion wall at Holt, and visited some of the easement properties... the list goes on. There were days while doing maintenance on the trails when people asked me, “how did you get stuck doing this today?” and days when hikers said, “it must be nice to have the job of walking the trails all day and being outside.” While most days I have felt the latter, that July heat wave definitely gave me a run for my money.
These experiences have reinforced the importance of community to me. Throughout my short time with the Conservancy, I have been blown away by the people and community involved. From the daily preserve walkers to the preserve workday regulars to the staff and donors, something really special has been built here, and it continues to strengthen and evolve. I have been honored to see it in action firsthand and have enjoyed the history and reflection that has come with the 30th year anniversary. It is truly special to have a community so committed to preserving open natural spaces for others to enjoy.
Unfortunately, I am leaving the area and focus region of the Conservancy in September. I am excited to be serving an 11-month AmeriCorps term in Burlington, Vermont, with the Friends of Northern Lake Champlain and engaging community members, farmers, and local governments to improve water quality and reduce phosphorus runoff to Lake Champlain and its tributaries. I hope to make it back to the area periodically to get out on the trails and help with some more improvements, but in the meantime, get outside and enjoy these wonderful gems!