Land Steward Program


A circular tree branch image with 30 Volunteer Land Steward Program est 1993

Since 1993, the Forest Society has trained and supported volunteers to help monitor and manage our forest reservations through the Land Steward Program.  Volunteer land stewards visit their adopted properties throughout the year conducting stewardship activities and serving as local ambassadors for the Forest Society.  More than 170 volunteers are currently active in the Land Steward Program, and these land stewards contribute more than 5000 hours of stewardship and monitoring work annually.  Over its more than 20 year history, the Land Steward Program has been a model for other volunteer land stewardship programs run by state agencies, municipalities, and other land conservation organizations.

Before adopting a forest reservation to monitor, land stewards receive hands-on training in forest management, GPS/compass use, trail maintenance, community engagement, boundary monitoring and recreation management. Stewards also have opportunities to meet and work with land conservation professionals and other volunteers through group workdays, training workshops, field trips, and social events. Most importantly, Forest Society land stewards are an integral part of land conservation in New Hampshire!

Land stewards work on a bridge at Buxton-Simons Forest


Land Steward Qualifications

  • Live within 20 miles of an "available" Forest Society reservation (one currently lacking steward coverage).
  • Be able to attend a required two-day, in-residence, core training session, offered annually in Spring (typically a Friday/Saturday)
  • Be willing to make a 2-3 year commitment to monitor a property annually.
  • Be mentally and physically able to perform stewardship responsibilities.
  • Have a strong interest in forest conservation and management.




  • Monitor your adopted property thoroughly on an annual basis.
  • Help to manage recreational and educational uses of the land.
  • Assist Forest Society staff with stewardship projects on your adopted property.
  • Maintain gates, signs, kiosks and other property infrastructure.
  • Perform basic trail maintenance and wildlife habitat improvement, where appropriate.
  • Remove trash and debris from the property.
  • Walk property boundaries to identify encroachments and/or maintenance needs.
  • Act as liaison with local officials, schools, neighbors, conservation organizations, and other Forest Society members.
  • Document and report property activity to Forest Society using our online monitoring report system.


  • Free core training in land management and stewardship as well as continuing opportunities for training in natural resource topics.
  • Complimentary Forest Society membership, including a subscription to our quarterly magazine, Forest Notes, and access to free lectures/events.
  • Work with Forest Society staff and other volunteers with similar interests and a commitment to conservation.
  • Get to know a beautiful piece of land intimately, in all seasons. This is something few people take the time to do today!

For questions about the Land Steward program, or to be added to a notification list for the next training, email Laurel Swope-Brush


Painting trail blazes, Moose Mountains Reservation

Constructing a log stringer bridge

Hanson Top trail workday, High Watch Preserve

Peeling a log, Monadnock Trails Week

Pruning apple trees on Hay Reservation

Installing signs