By Fran Lawlor, Land Manager
How do we thank our volunteers for doing what comes naturally? We call on our dedicated volunteers in many ways and their joy in helping is the fuel that assures our trails take us on engaging forays through The Woods. I am always humbled by the energy and passion our volunteers bring to our mission here at Baltimore Woods. Last year we had a conversation asking what motivates our land management volunteers to commit their time and labor for stewardship. The “return on investment,” the paying it back, is based in lifelong love of the land and caring for what sustains the land as well as their souls.
Several of our volunteers participated in our Ecological Restoration Walking Workshop at the end of September. We all had a blast, walking and talking deeply about primary forests and post agricultural health of the land. We reveled in small discoveries, such as the “dancing aphids” throwing a party on a small beech sapling. We debated the value of maintaining meadows despite the challenges of invasive species and relentless succession to the northern hardwood forest. The deep drilling into the impacts of deer, earthworms, and garlic mustard was a mind bender. Our volunteers are hungry for experiences that clarify for them what they are seeing as they work and play on the preserve and beyond. Sharing their time and talent at The Woods, for them and for us, is natural!