Stewards of the Land
Monitoring efforts get a boost thanks to dedicated volunteers.
From May through September, eleven volunteers will fan out across our service region to visit three dozen of the Land Trust’s 150 conserved properties. These volunteer monitors, who recently completed a full day field training on topics such as the latest mobile GPS technology and wilderness navigation, will hike across almost 3,000 acres this year as they document everything from vegetation condition to boundary integrity to hydrological changes and wildlife sightings.
The volunteers, selected through a competitive application process conducted in 2015, mainly come from resource conservation backgrounds and many serve as year-round site stewards for the Land Trust.
The monitoring of conserved properties is a responsibility that the Land Trust takes seriously, in part because of the guidelines set by the Land Trust Alliance accreditation standards. The task to monitor 17,000 acres annually is one that would normally require almost a full-time staff person to complete. By utilizing skilled and passionate volunteers, the Land Trust is able to expand its capacity to focus on priority land management needs. It’s a great opportunity for volunteers to get out and explore Columbia Land Trust’s lands, both close to home and in the remote wild areas of our region, while helping the Land Trust better care for our land.
“Its vigorous and extensive work to record what’s changing and happening on our lands as a result of our land management efforts,” said volunteer coordinator Sam Schongalla. “Volunteer monitors on the ground provide an invaluable service to our stewardship work.”
If you’d like to be Land Trust volunteer monitor, stay tuned for an announcement on our volunteer page for 2017, and be sure to check out our other volunteer opportunities this year.