The Rocks Preserve Stewards Hope Wilder, Vanessa, Finn and Nate of Pathfinder Community School and Joel Ross at their training in March 2018. (The Rocks Preserve Steward Zenki Baston not pictured).
The Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association (ECWA) has always had a strong volunteer force that cares for the organization’s five open-to-the-public nature preserves. As ECWA’s preserves grow, its stewardship program must also grow, and thus a need for volunteers who specialize in taking care of a specific preserve has emerged. So ECWA introduced a new Preserve Stewards Program in 2018 to expand our capacity to address each preserve’s unique needs and to provide a more regular presence on all the public preserves.
Many ECWA volunteers officially became preserve stewards this year, and the Preserve Stewards Program also attracted new volunteers like Hope Wilder and students from Pathfinder Community School. The preserve stewards usually live, work, or attend school near their preserve. After participating in a brief training, they regularly visit and maintain the preserves. These visits include removing trash, restocking dog waste bags, and keeping preserve signs and kiosks up to date. All the stewards report to the ECWA Stewardship Coordinator and assist in leading workdays on their preserves.
Partners of the Preserve Stewards Program
The Preserve Stewards Program officially launched at The Rocks, Pearl Mill, and 17-Acre Wood this spring. In partnership with McAdams Company we were able to launch the program at Beaver Marsh this fall. At Glennstone Preserve, we are in the process of creating a group thanks to support from a Triangle Community Foundation Support for Places: Environmental Conservation Public Benefit Grant. REI Co-op also provided a generous grant to build trails and update preserve communications at Glennstone.
We’re looking for more stewards, so if you live near the Beaver Marsh, 17-Acre Wood, Pearl Mill, or Glennstone Nature Preserve and are interested in becoming a preserve steward, please contact Donna Myers at email@example.com. And the next time you’re on a preserve and see one of those dedicated preserve stewards—they’ll be wearing an ECWA shirt or vest—please tell them thank you!