By Beth Sullivan
Ask any mother and she will have a very specific idea and story to describe labor. It is hard work indeed, bringing a new human into the world. It is continued hard work to raise and nurture those same new humans in a world that struggles to protect them and the environment that they require to thrive and grow.
But there are lots of other labors as well. This weekend we honor those who labor each day, in various different ways, to provide food and shelter for families, and also to make this world a better place.
Not all labor is paid labor either. We hear of Labor of Love and I’d like to think that almost all those who support land conservation efforts, and are never paid, are laboring out of love.
|Stewardship takes team work.|
|There are so many jobs to do.|
Many skills contribute
Avalonia Land Conservancy relies on many, many such laborers. Whether you look at it from the top down, or bottom up, the efforts that are undertaken would be impossible without our volunteer laborers.
Our Board of Directors is comprised of individuals who wear many hats of many professions, all willing to give their skills, knowledge, and time to make Avalonia a well-rounded, well-informed organization. Meetings, planning sessions, and research are all labors of love to keep things running smoothly.
Standing Committee chairs are often quite specialized in their abilities: financial, environmental, related to governance and development or fundraising. Many of our leaders are retired from their first professions and have taken on second lives as organizers and leaders according to their skills.
Town Committee chairs and members are focused on individual towns. They know what’s happening in local government and what the issues are in the community. Town committees know their land, where the preserves are, where the best habitats are, and what the needs are. They have connections in the community and never stop thinking of ways to keep those connections working for the greater good.
The stewards are the base of the pyramid. They are the boots on the ground, and the labor is most physical. The stewards know their preserves and trails. They know what needs to be done, and to the best of their abilities get things done. Whether it is mowing, clearing trails, planting, planning, fighting invasives or picking up litter, there is always stewardship to be done. There are management plans to be written and boundaries to post after acquisitions, and those boundaries must be walked every year. There are issues and encroachments to be dealt with. Most stewards really love the land; the work they do is done out of a true desire to be outdoors and to help preserve and protect the land that the others have worked to acquire. Stewardship is a lot of labor.
|College students embrace community service labor|
|Stewards offer skills and tools to get the job done.|
|Stewards take care of wildlife too.|
All of this labor is voluntary-Labors of Love
So on this Labor Day, we honor all those who labor. But as an Avalonia member, and one who loves and cherishes our preserves, I wish to thank all those who labor to keep us going and make sure this land is available to explore and love by all the next generations. The lands we preserve now will be the healing places for all as things seem to become more uncertain in the changing world.
|Volunteers get muddy and laugh.|
|We need to save the special places for the next generation of stewards.|
Photographs by Beth Sullivan.