Caring For The Land
A message from Steve Nelson, Chair of Stewardship as published in our newsletter "The Steward"
If you noticed, the name of this newsletter is “The Steward” and throughout previous newsletters over the years, and in all the emails and fundraising events, the underlying theme is always stewardship. Yeah, I know there are Board Members, and Executive Directors, and Executive Committees, task forces, and a lot of other volunteers who step up and step in when there’s a fundraising event, campaign, social events, and so on, and it’s all very important and they’re very important. They do things I don’t like to do, and, frankly, can’t do. It keeps us afloat and allows us to do what we’re supposed to do, steward the properties that have been entrusted to the FLT, and in turn entrusted to you, the steward.
As for me, I like getting out to the properties, getting sweaty and bloodied, pulling and cutting barberry and multiflora rosa and identifying tasks and projects we may need to tackle as a team. But I always take the time to stop, watch and listen. The creatures you hear and see, the wildflowers and wild weeds. Sometimes, I see and hear nothing some days, that’s just what I need.
We have 37 stewards assigned to 67 properties and easements, over 300 acres. That’s an area equivalent to all of the “flats” - from the Farmington River on the north, to Route 6 on the south, and Main Street on the east, to New Britain Avenue on the west. That’s a big chunk of the town.
Your responsibility, and it is a responsibility — you’re not just a place keeper on The Stewards List — is to get out on your property once a year. Make some observations: check to see if the FLT signage is in place. If there are any encroachments, let us know and we’ll take care of it. Does it host invasives? I know, what’s an invasive? Remember that brochure we sent to you? You lost it! No problem. IPANE, the free app, has it all. Fill out the report, send it in. That’s the minimum, and we’re happy to get it.
Remember our mantra: preserve and protect? Okay, not sure if we actually have a mantra, but if we did, that would be a good one. Because the next step I’d really like to see FLT stewards take. Ridding a property of invasives can be daunting and overwhelming. You’ll never be able do it by yourself. So why start? Because it helps.
Remember the IPANE app? That will help you to identify and find them. You don’t have to tackle the whole property. Start with 100 to 200 square feet, or an hour- or two-hour session three or four times a year. Instant gratification? Definitely. No one may see it, but you will, and you’ll feel better, you will. And the good news is you only have to do it for perpetuity, or until the Simpson’s get cancelled, whichever comes first.So the above motivational speech didn’t get you, huh? Didn’t get me either. But I will get out there, and I’ll feel better after I do. If things have changed and you don’t have the time to get out and do your report, let the office or me know.
And don’t feel bad about it, don’t worry about letting us down. Our membership is growing and we have new volunteers ready to step in. How about you? Are you ready? Let us know. Maybe you’re still unsure. Contact me or the office. We’ll arrange a time you can walk a parcel with a steward, or assign you to a steward mentor to get a feel for what it’s all about.