Monday, November 19, 2018

By Beth Sullivan
We are giving thanks for our volunteers and stewards who keep our mission alive.
Last Saturday a group of relatively new members of the Avalonia family got together to learn about one of many stewardship tasks: boundary monitoring. This is a job that must be done on an annual basis, to ensure that our boundaries are honored, and no encroachments are occurring. It is an interesting exercise and can be approached in a number of ways. On this day, we approached it by scrambling over a lovely old stone wall on Wolfneck Road. With a number of tools at our disposal - Town GIS maps, phone apps, maps and deeds - we walked a small and, thankfully, relatively open and dry property to test our skills. It didn’t take long before everyone was enjoying the challenge of finding drill holes in base stones of old walls and trying to figure out the best way to follow a line without a wall.
What we discovered is what professional surveyors know already - that the town GIS maps we find online are only estimations of where a property line may actually be. In many cases the phone app we were using, which was based on the town GIS, was as much as 6 feet off from where we knew, by deed and survey, the line actually was. A challenge for sure. But this team also was reassured that going forward, Avalonia will also have another new team that will actually learn the skills set required to post a boundary accurately. In this way, when a property is acquired, and surveys have been done, the new boundary posting team will be able to get out and put up signs accurately before the next year when our monitoring stewards follow up. Then the GIS maps and apps will guide the steward close enough to the line so that he or she can look for signs already posted and not struggle with looking for the drill holes and pins every year.

It is gratifying to know our grandchildren now walk the place we have been caring for. 

Stewardship may mean looking for drill holes in big rocks.

It may mean posting the boundaries so future stewards can monitor more accurately.

Stewardship can also mean introducing the following generations to the importance of taking care of the land.

Avalonia wants you

Sound like fun? It is. Avalonia is building stewardship teams to assist with some of the required tasks of maintaining our ever-growing property list. Stewardship is a great way to explore some beautiful land, walk off the beaten path, and, quite literally at times, get your feet wet in the exercise of stewardship.
This is just one way of giving back to our community, to our environment, and to the future. Avalonia Land Conservancy, as an organization, is dedicated to protecting local landscapes, habitats and ecosystems which support wildlife populations, protect waterways, and promise to be available for future generations. In a changing world, there are some things we do not want to see change. We want to know our children and grandchildren will be able to put their feet in the same brooks we did. Or walk the same trails. Or hug the same tree. Supporting our mission and being active within the organization is one way to ensure this. That’s the giving part.
In return you will feel the thanks and gratitude on many levels. Maybe the best way to feel the reward of giving is to watch a child play in nature and know you helped make it possible.
All of us who are involved with Avalonia as an organization, thank those of you who support us by being members, donors or being part of a stewardship team, willing to get your feet wet for a good cause.
Thank you!
Happy Thanksgiving.
In perpetuity means forever so these trees will have room to "grow into" their signs.
Preservation means that the same tree your daughter climbed may still be available for her child to climb and love.
The best reward for giving so that we may protect the land is watching the awe and wonder of children in nature. Photograph by Megan Sullivan.

Photographs by Beth Sullivan unless otherwise indicated.
Don't forget to support Avalonia Land Conservancy through the Amazon Smile program. 

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