In 2018, MHLC is introducing you to some of our incredible community members: volunteers, easement holders, donors, and more. This month, we speak with Lois & Don Porter, MHLC members since the 1990s and Preserve Stewards of the Ashford Glen Preserve. The Porters have played a key role in bringing together a community of neighbors to protect and care for this preserve in Colonie.
When did you begin volunteering with the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy?
Sometime in 2000.
How would you describe your roles as volunteers and supporters of MHLC?
We have been stewards of Ashford Glen Preserve for 18 years. Lois served on the MHLC (then the ACLC- Albany County Land Conservancy) Board of Directors for several years. We support MHLC financially as well.
How did you come to protect Ashford Glen?
There was a repeated threat of development of this parcel in the 1990s. We led an effort with our neighbors: first to reject the developers’ plans, and then to purchase the land and preserve it. A stream runs through the property, with steep slopes and wetlands. It’s a great small preserve that really is not suitable for development. We enjoy the plants, birds, and other wildlife on the property and we wanted to maintain their habitat.
What kind of community involvement have you seen in your work stewarding the Preserve?
Our neighbors are very supportive of the preserve. When we decided to put up a split rail fence to protect the preserve in 2018, the neighbors contributed over 100 hours of volunteer labor, plus the cost of the materials.
Which is your favorite aspect of volunteering with MHLC?
Getting out into the preserves and meeting other conservation-minded folks.
What do you wish more people knew about volunteering with a local land trust?
That it is fun, healthy, satisfying, and a good way to encourage community spirit.
Why do you support land conservation?
Because sprawl has taken over way too much of our lovely landscape and we humans need to be in nature to thrive. The “commons” is an underrated concept in the United States.