In 2018, MHLC is introducing you to some of our incredible volunteers. This month, we talk to one of our youngest volunteers: Connor Roddy. Read below to learn more about Connor and his work with MHLC!
*Are you interested in becoming a volunteer? Visit our Volunteer page for more information!
When did you begin volunteering with MHLC?
I began volunteering with MHLC two summers ago with the Conservancy’s former Stewardship Director, Ms. Tedesco. I had heard about this organization through my mother, who alongside two dozen girl scouts had previously worked with Ms. Tedesco planting trees at Van Dyke Preserve and had a blast. Then a Life Scout, I needed to complete a project for my community in order to attain the highest rank in scouting: Eagle. With my mother raving about how valuable and fun it is to volunteer for the Conservancy, and after doing a little research, I found that MHLC was the best way for me to have lots of fun doing my duty to the community while also having a balance of creativity, adventure, and humor.
How would you describe your role as a volunteer?
I coordinated with MHLC staff to find a project that meets their needs. We established a bird box project, and it became my responsibility to orchestrate and execute this project all the way through. This included fundraising, and gathering assistance from my community to help carry out my project. I built eleven nesting boxes of four different species on the Restifo Preserve in Westerlo, New York, in hopes that we can attract more people to enjoy the fabulous views that the preserve has to offer.
Which is your favorite aspect of volunteering with MHLC?
Working with MHLC for over a year on my Eagle Scout Project, I have learned so many wonderful things and have formed an awesome relationship with Ms. Cresap, the Stewardship and Volunteer Coordinator. She and the other staff members at MHLC were great to interact and work with to make my community a better place. That being said, I would have to say that my absolute favorite part was how much my project, and MHLC as a whole, opened me to this hidden goldmine of picturesque landscapes, pristine hiking trails, and a wealth of nature knowledge I had no idea existed. During the brainstorming stages of my project, there were so many areas across the county that I was unaware of, despite living in the Bethlehem area my whole life. Even after choosing my project, I didn’t realize what a hidden gem Westerlo has with Restifo. When I did visit, I was in awe of this beautiful scenery of wildlife and the forests atop the Catskills. I loved how I was able to attract our community’s ornithologists of young and old to explore one of the hidden gems of New York.
What do you wish more people knew about volunteering with a local land trust?
I wish people knew how easy MHLC makes it to be active in protecting our community. The staff is highly trained and will always be there to back you while you try to play your part safeguarding the wonderful flora and fauna of Bethlehem. I’ve learned so much while volunteering too, both about the wildlife and about myself, and I think many people will have this great enlightening experience as I did working with the Conservancy.
Why do you support land conservation (both generally and locally here in the Capital Region)?
I believe that land conservation is necessary if we want our future generations to enjoy our land as much as we have. Without organizations like MHLC, we will lose these valuable properties thus having a negative ecological impact.