Last week the Land Trust welcomed two new senior interns, Gabe Smock and Peter Vigano! Both interns attended New Canaan High School and have worked with the Land Trust in some form or another in the past. Last summer, Peter worked as one of the interns in the stewardship program and Gabe did some work lining the trails with logs and clearing out the water bars. In the fall, Gabe is going to BYU as a pre-med student with a major in history; Peter will be attending Notre Dame as an economics major. Peter is also an avid mountain biker while Gabe enjoys to play tennis in his free time.


The interns will be working primarily with the Land Trust’s Executive Director, Aaron Lefland, with additional opportunities to work with the Board of Directors and other staff. Throughout the four weeks that the interns will be working for the Land Trust, they will be helping maintain the trails, removing invasive species, doing office work, and assisting at the National Trails Day event, among other things.


The interns’ first day of work began on Tuesday, May 18th, beginning with an orientation at the office to review the broad goals of the internship. After that, the interns headed to the Browne Preserve to set up trail cameras and to begin revamping the social media accounts (go follow nc_land_trust on Instagram!). We changed out the cameras that had filled up their memory and placed the cameras in new spots at places where we saw animal tracks. While at the Browne Preserve, we were also lucky enough to see a Great Blue Heron fly across the reservoir!


On Wednesday, we switched gears and spent most of the day at the Fowler Preserve removing invasive species. The interns were mainly focused on removing garlic mustard from multiple areas in the preserve, though they also worked to take out bittersweet and burning bush. The two interns were able to fill three trash bags full of weeds; hopefully this should curb the spread of the invasives for a while. After heading back to the office, they worked on creating maps to reflect the placement of bird houses, wood duck houses, and other structures at various Land Trust properties, making it easier for volunteers to tend to these birdhouses in the future..


On Thursday, the interns had the opportunity to work again at the Fowler Preserve, this time with Susan Bergen, a member of the Board of Directors. The group removed invasive species in the meadow area and also sprayed natural deer repellant throughout to encourage the growth of the plants that were planted two years ago. The deer repellent is essentially made from rotten eggs so spraying the meadow made for a bit of a smelly job. Afterwards, the interns learned about the land trust’s donor database, and added information about gifts that were made prior to land trust’s use of the database.


On Friday, we transferred volunteer information to a new, easier-to-read form, continued some map-making, and tied up other loose ends from the week.


It was a great, very productive first week and Peter and Gabe are looking forward to the next three weeks spent working for the Land Trust!