The Nature Conservancy's Stewardship Manager Emily Seifert works with Director of Science Rose Paul, left, and AmeriCorps Member Cherie Mosher, right, on invasive plant control at Snake Mountain South Natural Area, one of the many tasks of fall as the Conservancy prepares its natural areas for winter. See the Slideshow.
Emily Seifert, the Vermont Chapter's Stewardship Manager, says her team and local volunteers work together at the Conservancy's natural areas to ensure that trails are clear of fallen trees and branches (which is a year-round task). See our Stewardship Slideshow, a snapshot of our fall/winter work.
The Volunteer Preserve Stewards are critical to the Conservancy's work throughout the year, and they pitch in before winter to help with one last round of picking up litter at trailheads and along the Conservancy's road frontage.
In some cases, Emily says they put up different signs (for example: reminding people not to bring their dogs on the Black Mountain trail because there is a deer wintering area near the summit, and dogs can disturb deer) or switch interpretive displays from the summer scene to the winter scene (such as at the LaPlatte River Marsh Natural Area kiosk).
In October, they are busy with invasive plant control. In November, they start property boundary marking, which continues through the winter and early spring. The stewardship team visits preserves, re-paints the blazes on trees, and hangs new boundary signs as needed. While they're there, they look for any problems such as motorized vehicle use, unauthorized cutting of trees, trash dumping, invasive shrubs (recognizable to the trained eye, even in winter!), and structures (example: a neighbor’s wood shed that was mistakenly built on Conservancy land).
Another winter task for stewardship is catching up on record-keeping from this field season: writing notes about what was accomplished, grant reporting, tallying volunteer hours, thanking volunteers for their ongoing help with caring for the natural areas, etc. And the stewardship team starts planning for next season: which projects to tackle, where the funding will come from, how volunteers can be involved, applying for a trail work crew from the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, securing permits, etc.
Winter may be the dormant season, but stewardship continues. See the Slideshow.