This week we offer a pair of challenges:
First: Take a hike! And we mean that with all sincerity. Find an Avalonia Preserve to visit and start walking. It may be one you know and love that you look at with new eyes, or one you haven’t tried yet. You can download our list of properties here. As you walk, do some thinking. Of course enjoy every step, but think about the piece of land. How might it have come to be part of our Preserve roster? Who donated it, or was it purchased? How were the funds raised if it was a purchase? And how is that land managed? Are the trails clearly marked?
Is it full of invasive plants that grow and try take over everything? Can you see signs that trees have been cut back and cleared from the trails? Are there bridges and wetlands crossings? Who made those or hauled the wood in to place it?
How about signs, entry signs, information signs, boundary postings? Think about who does that. Are there fields on the property? They need to be mowed yearly to preserve them as fields, otherwise they will grow in and fill with invading vines, plants, shrubs then trees. The habitat is then lost. If there is water on the property, how does protecting this brook or pond or vernal pool affect a larger picture? Reflect upon the fact that through a great deal of effort, time and money, this piece of land is protected from development and preserved and cherished forever.
Second Challenge: Think a bit more. How can you as one individual help? Start with membership in Avalonia Land Conservancy. You may already be a member and, if you are thank you! You can still help by increasing your membership commitment, or invite a friend or ten to join too! Pass the word. Many people like to get out and work on the preserves and we have a growing list of volunteers, but we need people to really show up for work parties and maybe even do a little on your own. When you walk, bring some clippers and remove small obstructions. Move sticks and blow-downs along the trail for others. Pick up any trash you find. Sadly there is way too much of that. But if you have other talents: public relations, computer skills, data management, financial savvy, organizational skills-we need all those skills too. No talent is wasted! Each town has a committee and you can connect with one by calling the main office (860-884-3500) or by going to our website for more contact information. We will be having an educational event September 29. If you want to attend, please RSVP by September 20 to the main office phone number. It will be a wonderful introduction to Avalonia for those who are new, and an opportunity to get a better insight into what we do and how we manage it. Please join us!
Written and photographed by Beth Sullivan.