In 2018, MHLC is introducing you to some of our incredible community members: volunteers, easement holders, donors, and more. This month, we talk to one of our newest volunteers: Bob Frederick. Read below to learn more about Bob and his first few months as a volunteer with MHLC.
What inspired you to become a Conservancy volunteer?
I saw and felt common values expressed when I attended the grand opening of the Fox Preserve. My intention was just to do something different and hike around a new location with my wife and neighbor. But as I heard people speak at the ceremony and when we took our tour of the property with MHLC staff, I saw myself in the company of others I respected and valued. I realized I lived close enough to other preserves that I would like to explore, so I decided to ask how I could get involved.
When did you begin volunteering with MHLC?
After speaking with staff and giving my email address at the Fox Preserve grand opening last October, I was contacted by Sawyer Cresap, MHLC Volunteer Coordinator to walk the Keleher Preserve and get a feel for the property and the potential projects. A week before our scheduled walk about, I decided to walk part of the property with my wife to experience the trails with fresh eyes. We had quite an adventure on the miles and miles of winding trails, and I had many ideas for trail improvements. When Sawyer introduced me to the trail system, and with her support, we turned those ideas into immediate projects.
How would you describe your role as a volunteer?
As a rookie volunteer, I’m still learning what my main role will be. Since my introduction to the Keleher Preserve in November, I’ve been taking time to learn the existing trail system and terrain during the winter season in order to suggest improvements and options that users would enjoy. I have also taken some time to meet other volunteers and staff during mass mailing projects and when installing new sign posts at trail junctures. I like the fact that the MHLC staff doesn’t pressure you into a role, but rather provides opportunities for you to discover the role that fits you best.
Which is your favorite aspect of volunteering with MHLC?
I like to feel useful and enjoy working on collaborative projects that respond to the needs of a community while harnessing local resources to get things done. In this age of technology, it’s great to experience new spaces and communicate with new people in person. Volunteering allows you to “feel” the experience, rather than just reading or hearing about something being done. I also like to surround myself with positive and inspiring people who enjoy sharing their expertise and energy to benefit the lives of others. Overall, I feel great after each volunteer experience. I laugh more, learn something new, meet interesting people, and feel productive.
What do you wish more people knew about volunteering with a local land trust?
First, you don’t need to be an outdoor enthusiast or hard-core environmentalist to be part of this community of volunteers. But I do think it’s important to make some time to experience one or more of the 18 preserves in the capital region to better understand why people come together to support the MHLC’s mission. That and reviewing their website helped connect me to the opportunities available.
Second, understand that you have everything that’s needed to make a difference in the care, promotion and expansion of these properties. We all have talents, interests and access to information, people and resources that can support the wide range of responsibilities the land conservancy oversees. You can contribute your talents in solitude or amongst others, and have the flexibility to contribute when available.
Why do you support land conservation (generally and locally)?
I grew up camping on the Sacandaga River, worked at Camp Chingachgook along the shores of Lake George, and continue to climb peaks, cross country ski trails, and kayak waterways throughout the northeastern United States. I have always found peace and excitement when in nature and have come to appreciate and admire the efforts of others who commit themselves to preserving our natural resources that we tend to take for granted. After many years of enjoying the results of previous conservation initiatives, I’d like to learn how I can contribute my talents so future generations will have access to the natural habitats I have enjoyed throughout my lifetime.
Thanks to the MHLC staff and their mission, I’m feeling more connected to my immediate community and the natural habitats that surround me.