Written by Gabe Smock

I hope that everyone had a great Memorial Day on Monday! This week the interns spent time preparing for National Trails Day (June 5th!), doing trail maintenance, and finishing comparing real estate data with properties that the Land Trust has identified as high priority. Even though the interns typically only work Mondays through Fridays, Peter and Gabe will be joining us on Saturday to assist with building the raised walkways at Colhoun Preserve.

After the holiday, the interns came in on Tuesday ready to get everything squared away for National Trails Day. Most of the day was spent at Colhoun Preserve, planning out where the raised walkways will be placed and training the interns on how to build them. Susan Bergen and Cristen Cottrell joined the group for part of the day, as they will also be volunteering on Saturday. After marking out where each of the walkways will go, the interns did some maintenance on the existing walkways, primarily tightening up some screws that had come loose and fitting some new logs to stabilize the planks. The group then met with the members of the Land Trust’s Stewardship Committee to discuss some updates on stewardship projects that are planned or in the works.

Wednesday was another busy day, this time spent making a new trail path on the Oenoke Lane GreenLink Trail. After a new guardrail was installed, the interns and Aaron Lefland worked to shift the entrance to the trail further down the road to a gap in the guardrail (wh-ch will serve as the trail entrance/exit). This job involved weed whacking the brush that was on the new path, chain-sawing trees that had fallen, lining the trail with logs and rocks to prevent erosion, and raking the underbrush to create a smooth new path for walkers.

The interns spent the morning on Thursday removing unwanted species from the Fowler Meadow and cataloguing the well-being of various types of plants with Stewardship Committee Chair, Susan Bergen. The plants have been kept in enclosures for the past few years to protect them from deer and it appears as though many of the plants are doing quite well. Once the locations of the plants were mapped out, the group began to remove the underbrush from the meadow. This was done to ensure that the meadow will remain healthy in the future, hopefully without ever needing further intervention from the Land Trust. Unfortunately, the weather proved to be uncooperative and the interns were forced to head back to the office for the day. While at the office, they spent the afternoon figuring out how to compare real estate listings with properties prioritized for conservation. After taking many different approaches, they reached a solution that has the potential to help the Land Trust with land acquisition long into the future.

With a solution in place, the interns spent Friday morning discussing the process for finding matches between listings and the desired properties and subsequently gathering basic information about the matches they found. The rest of the day was spent tying up some of the loose ends from other projects the interns had been working on.

It was yet another productive week and we are all looking forward to working with the volunteers at National Trails Day!