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Category Archives: Volunteer News

Volunteer News: Sibley Farm Property Sign!

It has happened again:
 A beautiful, handcrafted property sign has been completed and placed in its forever home!

From the moment the sign is envisioned, there is a volunteer jumping in to trace the template onto oak boards, then the boards are placed into the hands of a couple of volunteers gifted with the fine art of routing.  It then moves onto painting and then sanding. Sort of a production line, but with human interaction, conversation and friendship all happening at the same time!

While the oak boards are being worked on, another team that favors an adze or mallet and chisel, chips away at turning two round logs into square posts.  They then move onto completing the frame by finishing the beams with tenons that will fit into the mortises cut into the posts.

All while, once again, chatting about life, land conservation, or whatever else happens to surface.  

Occasionally, this work is done in less than ideal weather conditions…yet volunteers show to continue the project!

As luck would have it, the day we selected to install the Sibley Farm sign happened to be a day with predictions of 100% rain, from the time the install began until the time it was supposed to end.  Of course, an inch of rain tends not to deter a GWLT event or a GWLT volunteer. So, volunteers showed for the install! And it was wet, and muddy, and more wet. And fun. By the time the Sibley Farm Anniversary celebration cake was served, the rain had stopped, and we shared in the joy of the conserved status of Sibley Farm, the joy of GWLT volunteers, and the joy in knowing that as of that moment, even more people will be aware of Sibley Farm!  










Of course, none of this could happen without volunteers—so, once again, THANK YOU, for all you do!

Volunteer News: 2018 Earth Day Cleanup!

It happened again — another Earth Day Cleanup at Cascades East!  

And, thanks to a group of intrepid volunteers, it was a success!

Besides being kind enough to wake early on a Saturday morning, they jumped right into the task of pushing wheelbarrows up a hill to the old dump site.  They would then spend a fair amount of time removing broken glass, metal, tires, rubber tubing, etc. from the area. Being New England, and given a winter that just wants to hang on, all this was done while there was still about an inch of snow on the ground.

After filling a wheelbarrow, they headed back down the hill with their prize collection.

We then sorted through the materials to set aside recyclable metals from material that would end up in the dumpster.  (Thanks to another volunteer, the metal ends up at a recycling center the following week.)

After a brief break and some conversation, the volunteers would head back up the hill and repeat the process.


Despite frozen hands, hard work, and repetitive activity, they continued to work.  And chat!

All this was followed by a rather fun and relaxing cookout at Cascading Waters!  We had a chance to talk about the event, talk about future events, and chat like old friends around a campfire.

An absolutely wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning and a bit of the afternoon.

To all those that participated – THANK YOU!

You have made a difference!

Volunteer News: Trail Work Elves

Volunteering with Greater Worcester Land Trust and Greater Worcester Land Trust Volunteers come in many forms!

There are volunteers that love organized, group events.

There are volunteers that enjoy participating in an event, but sort of on the sideline.

There are volunteers that quietly work away on a project on their own.

There are volunteers that see something that needs doing, and they just do it.

And, there are volunteers that quietly tend to a project and we never know who they are!

It never ceases to amaze me how many volunteers are out there in the wilds of Worcester helping to steward GWLT lands.

Several years ago, when we began work on refreshing the Tetasset Ridge Trail and other trails associated with God’s Acre, I first noticed an amazing thing – work we planned on continuing during a subsequent Trail Work event had already been done!  There were Trail Work Elves! We would return to where we ended the trail work and discover more had been completed or the trail was “tidied” just a little more. Temporary bridges were placed over wet areas, trails were lined with downed branches, and there were signs the trail had been used.  It was incredible!

Since that time, Trail Work Elves continue to do their work!  We never see them, but we see the work they do!

This silent Corps of Volunteers continue their work to this day.  There are times we receive a notification informing us that a downed tree is blocking the trail, or that vegetation has overgrown onto the trail.  We plan on a Trail Work event to tend to the matter, and lo and behold – it is already done!

To all those secret volunteers – THANK YOU!

Your work is much appreciated.

And for those of you that LOVE big, organized events, get ready for the GWLT Earth Day Cleanup on Saturday, April 7th from 8am to noon.  This is the morning we continue our cleanup efforts at Cascades East. And, then follow-up with a cookout at Cascading Waters!  It is a time to do some hard work, help cleanup a GWLT property, and share a meal with friends.  

(It is also very likely Tracy’s cookies will be available…)


Volunteer News

Did you ever wonder how those beautiful GWLT signs and timber frames were made?

Did you ever wonder if there was a place in Worcester where old school hand tools are in use?

Did you ever wonder if you could feel the joy that comes from working with wood while   listening to a cascading waterfall?

Wonder no more — there is a place where all that happens — right here in Worcester!

Several years ago, when I first became involved with the Greater Worcester Land Trust, I also wondered where those big beautiful property signs came from.  And then, I participated in my first Sign and Timber Work morning.  What a thrill!

There I was, watching GWLT volunteers shape a log into a square post by using hand tools I had only seen in books and movies (yep – Little House on the Prairie type stuff!)

A volunteer was standing on a log using an adze.

Another was using a chisel and mallet to shape tenons on a cross bar.

Someone else was painting lettering on a beautifully routed sign.

There was so much activity! And because of the silence of the tools, there was conversation and laughter.

The morning was an absolutely amazing experience.

After some schooling on the use of an adze, I had the opportunity to try my hand at log hewing.  And, it was fantastic!  I was certainly no expert, but there was no pressure to excel immediately.  In time, the motions of my hands and the tool became a little smoother.  I was hooked!

Then I discovered that sort of thing happens on a regular basis.

And there is more!

There are times when we must collect black locust logs from the forest at Cascades West.  That sort of morning gives you an opportunity to use the Junior Log Arch to drag the log through the forest, or to use a two-man crosscut saw to cut the log into 8-foot sections, or to debark the logs using a bark spud.  At some point, you will be carrying the log using a two-man log timber carrier after you used a peavey to move the log into place.

What a blast!

All while working side by side with volunteers that are also enjoying the experience.

These are certainly things you do not expect to do in Worcester, but you can, thanks to volunteer opportunities with GWLT!

GWLT Sign and Timber Work mornings happen every other Thursday morning from 9 am to noon at Cascading Waters (135 Olean Street).  Be sure to check the event listing on our Facebook Page or our online calendar to confirm the date and location.  (The location will change if we are installing a completed sign — which is just another awesome experience with GWLT!)

A GWLT Volunteer Experience!

It all started with a simple request.

Could GWLT enhance the trails at Patch Reservoir?

Colin, of course, said “Sure!”  And, so we did. But, not without the help of many, many enthusiastic volunteers!

First, several mornings had to be spent wandering the property looking for a potential trail system.  As it happens with GWLT, an intrepid volunteer stepped forward and flagged the new trail!  And, it was no easy task – there was some rather thick brush just where the trail needed to be.

A few months later, a group of volunteers participating in the Worcester State University Make A Difference Day were looking for a Saturday project.  And, this location was perfect for that group – right around the corner.  That group of student volunteers spent hours tidying the existing trail and clearing through some of the dense vegetation on the newly flagged trail.

Despite their efforts, however, there was still work to do.  It was a long trail!

The next thing you know, WSU volunteers are looking for another Saturday project.  And we had just the location (again!).  However, this time we had enough resources to invite others as well.  So, in addition to the WSU students, a group of Worcester Polytechnic Institute students showed, a father and his two sons working on scout merit badges showed, a group of hearty GWLT volunteers showed.  And, it was fun!  And, productive!

The group of volunteers was so large, we accomplished quite a bit in one morning.  The group at the front of the pack cut thorny vegetation and moved large branches out of the way as they progressed along the trail.  The middle group concentrated on clipping the vegetation the first group left.  The last group of four worked on tree and log removal.  The group effort was amazing!  By the time we finished a section of trail, it looked like a well-worn footpath.  Phenomenal!

There was only a small section left to clear.  But, it had to wait.  But, not for long!

As it turned out, two students from WPI were looking for Community Service hours, so they headed back the following week to work on the unfinished section.

A Thursday morning volunteer event completed the final stretch of the new trail!  We added some finishing touches to the vegetation clearing, removed some small stumps not noticed during the other trail work events, and added the red blazes!  It was a fantastic morning!

If it were not for all those volunteers and groups coming together, the trail would still be on our “Wish List”.

The power of volunteers is amazing.

As a small non-profit organization, volunteers are invaluable.

My hope, though, is they all return to enjoy the trails!

Interested in volunteering for GWLT? Find out more on our Volunteering page!




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