April Volunteer Spotlight

Amanda Treat moved to Malden seven years ago. She works as a project manager for Wilson Sporting Goods and supports their Wilson Pact sustainability committee and different initiatives to help get folks together outdoors. Running, gardening, hiking, writing, and rock climbing are all activities that Amanda enjoys.

“Coming out of COVID, I really wanted to get out there and do something that gives back to the community and do things with other people,” Amanda says about her motivations to join the. Friends of the Fells’s Communications Committee. She writes blog posts and helps get information out to Fells community members.

Before joining the Communications Committee, Amanda volunteered at invasive plant removal work days. After attending these events and learning about invasive plants, she noticed large areas of black swallowwort near the Oak Grove T stop. She got in touch with the Fells DCR staff and asked about scheduling an event to remove invasive plants near the T stop. Members of groups like Friends of the Malden River and Bike to the Sea also joined in this event. “It was a cool way to expand something Friends of the Fells repeatedly organizes and spread it out into the community.”

Amanda frequents the Oakdale Park side of the Fells; Pinnacle Rock and the Cascade are two of her favorite places to visit and take in the view. She also walks in the Fells while participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count and considers herself a casual birder.

If you are interested in volunteering, Amanda has some advice for you. “Whatever you are interested in, there is an opportunity that matches that,” says Amanda. “[Volunteering] helps get people outside and get them together.”

Thank you, Amanda, for all that you do for the Fells!

If you are interested in learning more and getting involved, please reach out to friends@fells.org, complete the Volunteer Application, or keep an eye on our calendar here for upcoming volunteer events.

Anna Rudy has spent her entire life in Stoneham with her family, where she is a close drive from the Fells. After earning an Associates degree in Psychology from Middlesex Community College, Anna transferred to Salem State University where she is currently majoring in Biology.

Anna loved reading as a kid, especially the Magic Treehouse book series. This love of literature has stuck with her, as she is now pursuing a Professional Writing minor and wants to help make science concepts more accessible.

Anna has been volunteering with FOF since January 2023. She has helped tremendously with office work in addition to volunteering at invasive plant removals. She found this volunteer opportunity through social media after the pandemic. Anna says she “needed to get back outside and reconnect with nature.”

“Whenever I think of nature, comfort, or happiness, I think of Bellevue Pond,” Anna says about her favorite place in the Fells. Every Easter, her family visits Bellevue Pond and goes for a walk while they appreciate nature and the beginning of spring. Anna has numerous memories in the Fells and it is hard to pick a favorite, but one thing that she has always enjoyed is birding.

Anna’s love of birds developed from a young age after she saw a great blue heron fly overhead on a walk. “They are absolutely amazing, I still love great blue herons to this day. They are so majestic and goofy,” says Anna.

If you are interested in volunteering, Anna has some advice for you. “Volunteering can take all kinds of forms,” Anna says. “Ultimately, I think you shouldn’t let any preconceived ideas about what volunteering is prevent you from helping a cause that you love. There are so many different ways to help out. You just have to ask!”

Thank you, Anna, for all that you do for the Fells!

If you are interested in learning more and getting involved, please reach out to friends@fells.org, complete the Volunteer Application, or keep an eye on our calendar here for upcoming volunteer events.

Jac Goldstein (she/her) and Leah Nussbaum (they/them) have been leading hikes for the Queer and Trans (QT) Hiking Fell-ows, an LGBTQ+ community hike group in the Fells for the past year. In the fall of 2022, they joined a hike with The Venture Out Project and Friends of the Fells, where the idea of monthly hikes for the LGBTQ+ community in the Fells began.

Currently living in Arlington, Jac was born and went to college in California before moving to Wisconsin to earn her Ph.D. in astronomy. She currently teaches scientific communication to engineers at MIT. Jac enjoys dancing, climbing, gardening, and camping. She also loves any activities where she can relate to other people, land, or communities.

Leah is originally from Framingham and has spent most of their adult life in New York, Philadelphia, and Jerusalem before moving back to Massachusetts for work. Leah is a rabbi and chaplain who works in a long term care hospital with seniors and their families to provide support as they age. Leah helps build community connections among seniors and their families where they may not expect to find a Jewish community otherwise. In addition to hiking, Leah enjoys indoor and outdoor rock climbing and board games.

June 2023 Pride Hike

Before leading hikes for FOF, Jac organized a Queer Climbing Social Madison, WI. She and Leah didn’t have prior hike leadership experience, but they were excited to get to know community members and get out in the Fells. Leah’s favorite part of leading hikes is the opportunity to explore new parts of the park and be outside. “I like seeing new places and new spots, especially in winter,” Leah says, and “getting to know both the regulars and new folks.”

Jac says that she gets excited to see how many people show up [for the hikes] every month. “The group has become more popular over the last year and typically reaches its maximum capacity … each month.”

If you are interested in leading hikes, Jac and Leah have some advice for you. Both Leah and Jac encourage folks to reach out and express their interest. Jac says that “FOF is there to help with event organizing and advertising and … provide logistical support. So if there is an interest, then there is a way [for you] to do it.” When leading hikes, Leah recommends “[setting] expectations for how long [the route is] and [giving] opportunities for breaks, which helps make the hikes more accessible.”

Thank you, Leah and Jac, for leading these amazing hikes for the community!

If you are interested in learning more about leading hikes or getting involved, please visit the QT Hiking Fellows Facebook group. You can also reach out to friends@fells.org or keep an eye on our calendar here.

Currently living in Melrose, Regina Gibbons grew up in southern New Jersey. Regina has worked as an acupuncturist for the past 23 years. Before that, she got her MBA and worked as an accountant.

Regina has volunteered with Friends of the Fells (FOF) for about a year. She regularly attends FOF’s monthly invasive plant removals and tries to make volunteering a part of her routine.

Her introduction to the Fells was in 2012 after her niece moved from Somerville to Washington D.C. and left Regina her 2007 illustrated edition trail map of the Fells. After learning more about the Fells and FOF, she signed up for emails to stay updated on events and activities in the park.

Kayaking on Spot Pond, snowshoeing, biking on fire roads, and hiking are all favored activities. “I kayak the pond as often as I can, delighting in the variation in weather and the progression of the seasons across land and sky,” Regina says about one of her favorite activities in the Fells.

Another aspect of the Fells that Regina treasures is the age and history of the rock formations. She loves to learn about the geologic history of the Fells. The rocks of the Fells have been dated at 900 million years. Parts of what is now the Fells and the city of Boston were originally attached to Northwest Africa. “That’s just wild and helps me keep things in perspective in an otherwise chaotic world,” Regina says.

If you are interested in volunteering, Regina has some advice. She says that “[volunteering is] the best antidepressant, unlimited refills, and no copay,” and, “[working] alongside other volunteers is an important reminder that there are good folks out there and good things are being done.”

Thank you so much for all that you do for the Fells, Regina!

If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer opportunities, read about our volunteer program here or check out our calendar here.

Luke Killion is a lifelong resident of Winchester. He has always been a supporter of environmental causes, as his mother is a guide for Winchester Trails and emphasized the importance of the natural world and how we can protect it.

Luke often attends Friends of the Fell’s (FOF) volunteer days to remove invasive plants and conduct trail maintenance. He has been a Trail Adopter in Virginia Wood since July 2022. Interestingly, Luke and his family have a special connection with this part of the Fells. Back in the 1800s, several members of Luke’s family worked at the rubber shoe factory that was once in Stoneham and the pumping station that supplied water to Malden at the time.

Volunteering is an important part of Luke’s life. In addition to volunteering with FOF, he also volunteered at Wright-Locke Farm in Winchester and Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm in Lincoln. At these two locations, he worked with the chickens and harvested crops in the fields. He also volunteered with the Mystic River Watershed Association’s Herring Monitoring program. Luke says that “volunteering is a great way to be a part of a cause in the community and have a positive impact [that] provides you with great experiences.”

Hiking is Luke’s favorite activity to do in the Fells. He especially enjoys attending guided hikes. “The guided hikes increase my awareness of the Fells’ natural and historical importance. They reintroduced me to the healing power of nature,” Luke says.

Along with being Luke’s Trail Adopter zone, Virginia Wood is also his favorite spot in the Fells. “[This area] represents a lot of historical aspects of New England and land stewardship,” Luke shares. Virginia Wood was the first piece of land given to the Trustees of Public Reservations (now the Trustees) in 1894 by Fanny Foster Tudor. You can learn more about the history of Virginia Wood here.

Luke enjoys giving back to his community. For anyone interested in volunteering, Luke says, “[There are] more volunteer opportunities today than there ever were. Finding a good fit is probably the most important thing, then you can contribute to a cause that is worthwhile and rewarding to you.”

Thank you so much for all that you do for the Fells, Luke!

If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer opportunities, read about our volunteer program here or check out our calendar here.

Check out some of the trail work Luke has participated in as a volunteer and Trail Adopter in the photos below: 

Mike Jones grew up in Malden and now lives in Burlington, where he has resided for the last 30 years. Before retiring at the beginning of 2023, Mike was a software engineer.

Mike began volunteering with Friends of the Fells as a Trail Adopter and work day volunteer in the spring of this year, but he has always enjoyed the Fells, especially over the last five or six years. After retiring, Mike found that he had a lot of extra time and thought that volunteering would be a good way to get involved and give back to the Fells. “Having done a lot of hiking in my life, I felt as though it would be good to give back a bit and do what I can to help make the trails more enjoyable for future generations, as well as for those who currently want to use the Fells,” Mike says.

Two of Mike’s favorite activities are hiking and snowshoeing. Mike says that he enjoys “being out in nature and uncovering the history” of the Fells, such as the old culverts, roads, and structures that have been covered in vegetation over time. Since the Fells does not always get enough snow, most of the snowshoeing that he does is in the White Mountains.

The White Mountains area is one of Mike’s favorite places to hike. He he has gone up for day trips or to camp. The White Mountains and other New England mountains have specific hikes that are included on a number of lists that hikers can aim to accomplish and earn a patch for completing. Mike is currently working to complete the New England Hundred Highest hike list. He has used the trails of the Fells to train for the larger hikes that he completes up in the Whites.

Mike has some advice for anyone interested in volunteering. “Don’t hesitate,” says Mike, “there is no reason to hesitate for anything that you want to do in life, and if you want to volunteer and make a difference, you should just do it.”

Thank you so much for all of your help, Mike!

If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer opportunities, read about our volunteer program here or check out our calendar here.