Preserve Monitor / Steward

Hunter Bluff Preserve

Hunter Bluff is located in Caldwell County in western Kentucky

Buffalo Trace Preserve

Buffalo Trace is located in Fleming County in northeastern Kentucky.

Conserving wildlife habitat and safeguarding places for people to explore is a responsibility the Conservancy takes seriously. However, properly maintaining habitat and monitoring human uses at the Conservancy’s more than 40 preserves presents a challenge due to limited capacity. In response, the Conservancy launched a volunteer Preserve Monitor and Stewardship Program.

Volunteer Preserve Stewards work closely with Conservancy staff to meet the stewardship goals for the preserve by maintaining trails, eradicating invasive species, and planning preserve workdays.

Volunteer Preserve Monitors visit a preserve on a regular schedule, approximately 6-12 visits per year, to assess the condition and needs of the preserve and report their findings back to the Volunteer Preserve Steward.

“The Conservancy already has monitors at ten preserves,” says Laura Cook, volunteer coordinator for The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky. “We hope to expand this presence over time. The combination of volunteer preserve stewards and monitors will help us to conduct routine surveys, note visitor activities, maintain trails, coordinate workdays, and control invasive species to benefit the systems and species at each site.”

These efforts received a boost in 2011 thanks to a $17,500 donation from Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. for the Conservancy’s Think Global Act Local Volunteer Program.

“The grant from Toyota helps us significantly expand this program, beginning with the development of new Preserve Monitor Handbooks, formal herbicide training, and necessary tools and equipment for our volunteer preserve stewards,” adds Cook.

Become a Preserve Monitor

The Conservancy’s goal is to have a volunteer preserve steward and several volunteer preserve monitors at each of our preserves. Here’s how to volunteer for this important role:

  • Fill out the volunteer application and liability form.
  • Review the Volunteer Preserve Steward/Monitor job descriptions.
  • Learn about the Conservancy's preserves and determine the preserves where you’d like to volunteer.
  • Email the Conservancy to express interest in becoming a preserve monitor and we will get you connected with the appropriate volunteer preserve steward or Conservancy staff.
  • Set a date to meet with the volunteer preserve steward or Conservancy staff. During the site visit, the volunteer preserve steward or staff will give a tour of the preserve, highlight stewardship needs and answer questions. At the end of the visit, it is determined whether the preserve is an appropriate fit for the volunteer’s interests.
  • Work with the volunteer preserve steward or staff to determine how frequently monitoring needs to occur.


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