Open House Honors Local Land Stewards

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the Upper Valley Land Trust hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Open House on Thursday, November 18. Approximately 75 volunteers helped UVLT with its stewardship work this year. Their time adds up to over 700 hours, and is evidence of an investment in the Upper Valley that cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

UVLT, with the help of its many stewardship volunteers, maintains 18 trails and 7 campsites. Volunteers also help to monitor UVLT’s conservation easements by walking the boundaries of conserved properties and documenting any changes to the landscape. These walks are performed annually on the more than 400 parcels that have been conserved with UVLT over the 25 years of the organization’s existence.

A UVLT volunteer helps to remove invasive plants from a parcel of land in Norwich, known as Gateway.

In addition to the time and energy that land stewards contribute, dozens more community members assist UVLT by leading hikes, organizing events, taking pictures of conserved properties, participating in committee work, and making a variety of in-kind donations. UVLT has a staff of just 9 full-time employees, so volunteer assistance is vital.

UVLT’s Stewardship Coordinator Jason Berard said recently, “I am amazed at the number of hours that volunteers contribute to our work. I am honored to work for an organization with such broad community support.”

At UVLT’s Open House on Thursday, volunteers mentioned favorite Upper Valley lands and the challenges each season brings. In the winter, one volunteer monitor mentioned, “I have to carry a big pack and wear snowshoes, but it’s easier to see animal tracks and signs. It’s also easier to cross water – as long as it’s really frozen. I did fall through once – up to my hip! But I made it out OK.”

In order to join the Upper Valley Land Trust as a volunteer on a trail team, as a campsite steward, or a conservation easement monitor, please contact Peter Helm, UVLT’s Vice President Stewardship at or (603) 643-6626 ext. 104. Spring monitor training dates will be posted at in early 2011.