Welcoming in a New Class of Land Stewards

Land Steward Training in 2016

May 19, 2016

New Land Stewards pose for a photo in front of Lake Winnipesaukee.

Twenty-four new land stewards attended a comprehensive training program in late April 2016 to learn everything they needed to know to adopt one of the Forest Society's reservations. The new stewards come from all over the state including Colebrook, Exeter, Peterborough, and right here in Concord. They will cover 21 different forest reservations.

Group gathers to hear from Wendy, Lead Forester, about forestry basics.

Forest Society staff joined forces to deliver indoor presentations, orienteering activities, trail walks, and explored a recent timber harvest, all over two days. The training covers the history and organization of the Forest Society, forest management, boundary monitoring and navigation, recreation management, trail maintenance and community outreach.  This year the training took place at Brookwoods Conference Center in Alton.  

Gabe, Field Forester, leads an exercise to measure pace for each steward.

The responsibility of the land steward is to monitor and care for their adopted reservation.  Typical tasks for these visits include trail maintenance, keeping the forests free of trash, and engaging with neighbors or visitors.  Stewards visit their reservation as few as four times a year, but for some as many as a few times per week!  

Attendees look at different tools for trail maintenance and discuss tool safety with Jenn, Land Steward Program Coordinator.

“Many people already love being in the woods, whether it’s for physical exercise or spiritual contentment” said Carrie Deegan, Volunteer and Community Engagement Manager for the Forest Society.  “But this program really lets volunteers connect with a piece of land closely, enhancing their enjoyment and increasing their knowledge about stewardship, conservation and the natural world.”

A trainee and honorary

In 2016 the Land Steward Program now has 172 active volunteers who steward all of the Forest Society's 180 reservations. The new class left the training eager to explore their new adopted forest reservations.