Posted by: Bridgett Hernandez

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  • 07/09/2022

Volunteering at an ACRES preserve

By ACRES Outreach Manager Reena Ramos

ACRES is able to offer trails thanks to Trail Monitors and Preserve Stewards. Here’s what they do and how you can get involved as a preserve volunteer.

How do volunteers help ACRES maintain preserves for visitors?

Volunteers make ACRES trails possible. Because ACRES mission is to protect local land, staff focus on acquiring properties, caring for land and sharing the message. Without volunteer help, ACRES would be unable to maintain trails across the region. Both Preserve Stewards and Trail Monitors have very important jobs keeping trails clear and preserves healthy. Most trail systems that visitors enjoy are fully maintained by volunteers.

Preserve Stewards do the “heavy lifting” by keeping trails and parking lots open and clear. Stewards can be seen mowing, spin trimming, chain-sawing and repairing boardwalks and bridges.

Trail Monitors do regular walk-throughs, picking up litter and removing debris from parking lots and trails. Trail Monitors also act as an extra set of eyes and ears on the preserve, reporting things like downed trees and prohibited activities like camping.

How do volunteers help ACRES mission of protecting land?

Hiking trails are a great tool to raise awareness about both the organization and the land. We hope that visitors who hike these preserves will appreciate the benefits of and beauty in protecting local land and will join in ACRES efforts. These opportunities to inspire visitors on the trails would not be possible without volunteers. With volunteers taking on trail work, the stewardship team can focus on caring for ACRES preserves: for example, doing restoration work like invasive species removal to keep the preserves healthy.

Where do we need trail monitors?

Huntington County
LaGrange County
Miami County
Steuben County
Wabash County

Click here to see our service area

Where do we need preserve stewards?*

Allen County
Bicentennial Woods
Blue Cast Springs
McNabb-Walter Nature Preserve
Spring Lake Woods and Bog

DeKalb County
Heinzerling Family Five Points Nature Preserve

Hillsdale County (MI)
Kauffman Nature Sanctuary

LaGrange County
Fawn River Nature Preserve

Noble County
Lloyd W. Bender Memorial Forest

Steuben County
Marion’s Woods

*Preserve Stewards must be able to provide and transport their own equipment.

What should I do if I’m interested in volunteering at a preserve?

To learn more about the Preserve Steward or Trail Monitor positions, visit the ACRES volunteer page at acreslandtrust.org/volunteer or email ACRES Outreach Manager Reena Ramos at [email protected]. For a more casual volunteer opportunity, join a workday on the preserves. Volunteer workdays are free and open to the public. Find events listed online at acreslandtrust.org/events.

ACRES Outreach Manager Reena Ramos connects people with ACRES mission through engaging, firsthand experiences. From wetland floats to wildflower hikes, she loves to share the places we protect. Reena oversees ACRES volunteer program, welcoming new volunteers and retaining our established crew.

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