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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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