Our Trail Adopters are not afraid to jump in and get their hands dirty, literally and figuratively. They work with organic matter. It is physical, sensory, and stimulating work.
In that sense, we found it a bit ironic that we have several dozen of these dedicated volunteers who have partnered effectively, for several years in some cases, but who had never worked together face-to-face. Folks have submitted work reports, emailed and texted one another, and in some cases they felt like friends, but had not yet met. Their work is back-to-basics, but their communication was largely electronic.
We took steps to change that on Saturday, June 24, with the first major Trail Adopter Workshop. Over two thirds of the Adopters were able to make it, which is a pretty good turnout for an early summer weekend. We’d like to thank them for their eagerness to come out and learn more about best practices for park maintenance, share ideas and join teams, and network. Extra thanks to our local DCR (Department of Conservation and Recreation) staff for helping to plan and lead. DCR Park Supervisor Gillian Badwan says, “Meeting with the Trail Adopters and Friends of the Fells volunteer team was incredibly energizing. We were totally reinvigorated knowing that this group of motivated, excited people who have great ideas for the park, and, even better, are willing to help implement these projects exists in our community!”
Trail Adopter Coordinator and board member Jeff Buxbaum says, “I loved being able to personally meet the adopters who I only knew by e-mail and phone. Their energy was infectious, and they had a shared desire to preserve the Fells for all to enjoy. I’m looking forward to ways to move forward with some action teams to improve trail blazes, create pollinator gardens, build bog bridges, tackle invasive species, and create eye-catching signs to motivate people to preserve the Fells.”
In addition to working independently to care for the trails, and now hopefully partnering more effectively in areas where it makes sense to do so, this crew also includes leaders who often help DCR organize and plan service initiatives: thanks to REI, LiveLikeBecca, and SCA (Student Conservation Association), Park Serve Day participants, and multiple scout and school groups for all your hard work already this year!
You may have heard that we now have one hundred percent of trails adopted. This is because most of the adopters are part of a team that care for small sections of the Fells rather than an individual trail. But each of the teams has room to add more volunteers, to make sure we get to all the trails as frequently as we can. So we’re still looking for many more people to help out. And even though we call them “teams”, for the most part, volunteers work on their own, whenever they can.
Are you inspired to be a Trail Adopter? Sign up here. If you’re intrigued by the work but want to try out one-day projects first before committing reach out to Volunteer Coordinator Lindsay here or at email@example.com. We hope to see you out there!
Additional thanks to Starbucks, Food Link, and Monique S. for providing refreshments.