This past October, our Land Stewardship Coordinator, Brigid Ryan, trained student volunteers from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in property monitoring, tool safety, and how to use apps to collect data in the field. These students are enrolled in conservation courses with professors who encourage them to volunteer for local environmental organizations as part of the curriculum.
For two consecutive weekends, Brigid and a group of five volunteers from Professor Lena Fletcher’s undergraduate “Environment and Society” course improved the trails at HLT’s Bradley and Breckenridge properties in Williamsburg. They spent their time removing encroaching vegetation, improving drainage, and re-blazing most of the trails.
Student Harry Harmon said his group chose to work with HLT because “we all love hiking and wanted to work outside improving a trail for other hikers.”
Brigid also worked with four graduate and undergraduate volunteers from Professor Paul Catanzaro’s “Landscape Partnership” course. She trained the students to use the Fulcrum and MotionX apps, which aid in property monitoring through data collection. The students then helped monitor and mark boundaries at properties conserved by HLT.
Lauren Musshorn, who assisted Brigid on monitoring visits to HLT’s Pardoe and Birrell properties, said “I learned a lot about something I could do with my degree after graduating and I got to go hiking for the day.”
As a recent graduate of UMass-Amherst, and as a former student of both Professors Fletcher and Catanzaro, Brigid was happy to facilitate positive outdoor experiences for these students. HLT is so grateful to be the recipient of the knowledge and energy of these young people and we look forward to continuing to work with UMass-Amherst on projects like this in the future!
Check out the video that Professor Fletcher’s students produced to document their project below!