This is What Volunteering Looks Like

Okay, the title is not entirely accurate.  This write-up gives only one example of what volunteering can look like in the Fells.  We hope to show you many more opportunities.  But this article does give you a good idea of what field service volunteering looks like.
We had students from the Tufts FOCUS pre-orientation program come help us do trail work in the Fells for the fourth year in a row. I think it has become a tradition at this point, don’t you think?  Tufts FOCUS connects new students to the Greater Boston community by setting up five days of service-based field trips around the area.  Students can sign up for various themes, from education to social justice and more.  On the last week of August, we and other outdoor organizations in the region welcome the students who pick the “environment” focus.



Project-wise, we  had the same schedule as last year.  You can read more about the details here.  While we may shake it up in future years, it has been useful to return to the same spot.  These sites need ongoing maintenance, yet many of our efforts hold up and we are able to monitor progress and continue to take things farther and learn from experience.

We’ve had fantastic weather every year we’ve done this.  I hope I didn’t just jinx us for next year!  Saturday was on the hot side, but that group happened to be about 90% from the southern half of the country and they weren’t fazed one bit!  They joked about the 85 degrees feeling downright refreshing compared to what they were used to, and dove right into the physical work.


Rich Sanford and I had a great time working with these crews! These groups proved particularly independent, and they took a lot of initiative when it came to breaking themselves up into smaller groups or finding extra side projects.  In fact, our time in the field went smoothly and the only snafu us when their van went out of commission.  Their independence continued as they plotted their way to and from the Botume House by public transport at the last minute.

[Side note: A Friends of the Fells MBTA guide is on our wish list.  We’d love to have a sharable reference for all bus stops and stations within walking distance of the Fells, perhaps with walking instructions to the gates and trail suggestions.  If this is something you or your students would be interested in taking on, contact us at or comment here.]


Thank you, Tufts students! Do you like this story about service in the Fells?  If you’d like to participate yourself, we have a National Public Lands Day Spot Pond clean-up event on September 26th.  Meet at Flynn Rink at or around 9am. It is open to both individuals and groups. We already have a decent amount of interest–thank you!–but we can accommodate more.  Join us!  We are short on event captains, which basically just means it is helpful if you know any of the trails near Spot Pond quite well, and are able to help show the volunteers where to go.  If you are able and willing to take on this role, email

Please consider joining us if you’re free, and either way share the event and opportunities with your community. Thank you!