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Four Questions with KLT Volunteer Ben Stark

Summer forest with coniferous and deciduous trees

Kawartha Land Trust (KLT) is a big community of volunteers, donors, staff, and supporters working to conserve the natural and working lands of the Kawarthas. It takes a community of passionate and dedicated people to protect the land we love.

Ben Stark
KLT volunteer Ben Stark leading a Passport to Nature “Birding for Everyone” event at KLT’s Dance Nature Sanctuary. (Photo: Stephanie Lake)

Today, we would like to introduce you to one of our volunteers – Ben Stark. Ben has been volunteering with KLT since March 2023 as a stewardship volunteer. In one year, he’s made an incredible impact across KLT’s protected lands by removing invasive plant species like Common Buckthorn and Garlic Mustard from our protected properties, maintaining KLT public access trails, and planting trees. He’s also spread the word about KLT and conservation in the Kawarthas as a volunteer event ambassador and recently completed volunteer training to conduct property inventories and property monitoring.

Did we mention Ben was an event facilitator as well? On May 26, 2024, Ben led a birding walk at KLT’s Dance Nature Sanctuary near Young’s Point as part of KLT’s Passport to Nature “Birds for Everyone” event.

Where is your hometown? I was raised in Markham, Ontario; lived in Ottawa for four years, then Toronto for 12 years; and am now a two-year-old Peterborian.

What is the favourite part of your volunteer role at KLT? Volunteering with KLT helps me get out and experience “wild” Ontario in a way I’d struggle to otherwise. There are so many interesting and unique places that the KLT enables me to access, and the fact that I get to go visit them AND make a positive impact is pretty cool.

What is your favourite moment at a KLT-protected property? Collecting native tallgrass seeds at the Ballyduff Trails tallgrass prairie was a surreal experience that I’d recommend everyone try in the fall. There is something peaceful and dreamlike about strolling through that field scooping seeds. Right beside is a striking Black Locust grove that’s also worth checking out!

Why does KLT matter to you? Natural habitat loss is the largest threat to biodiversity on the planet. One of the best things we can do today is to preserve and expand the natural areas we have left. That’s what the Kawartha Land Trust is all about, and is why they’re important to me.

We offer our thanks to Ben and to all of our volunteers past and present for their invaluable contributions. Learn more about volunteering at Kawartha Land Trust.

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