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The Joy of Being a Volunteer Lead Property Steward at Kawartha Land Trust

Richard Raper standing at Ingleton-Wells property trailhead in North Kawartha.

By Richard Raper, RPF (Ret.)

I am happily starting my fourth year as Lead Property Steward for Kawartha Land Trust’s (KLT) Ingleton-Wells property, located in North Kawartha.

You might ask how did I get here? My background is in natural resources and protected areas, so I have a great interest in and strongly support the critical role that Kawartha Land Trust has taken on in our collective backyards. That helped. Discussing an interest in greater volunteer involvement with Thom Unrau, KLT’s Director of Community Conservation, helped more. A field trip to the property clinched it!

There is a lot to do and to learn at KLT’s Ingleton-Wells property. Some is easy. Some takes a little more effort. All is enjoyable. Well, maybe not pulling invasive Garlic Mustard at the height of black fly season…

There is trimming along the parking area. There are trails to mow and trim and keep clear of fallen trees and branches. There are benches, signs, trail maps, and trail markers to check and maintain. There are property boundaries to get to know and occasionally check.

There are bird and duck boxes to monitor and to clean out annually. There used to be a bat box, and there will be one again later this year! There are invasive species to learn about, watch for, and to conduct control measures on. There are endangered species to learn about and perhaps help to restore or support.

I have been fortunate to have met three of the four individuals who donated the Ingleton-Wells property in 2011. They have all been inspiring with their love of the natural world, their desire to protect it, as well as their unwavering support of KLT.

I enjoy watching and learning about the natural world from the season-to-season and year-to-year changes in the old farm fields, young forests, and mature woodlands. I enjoy bird and animal sightings and signs. I enjoy hiking on the property and talking to hikers I meet (they always express appreciation for KLT and the volunteers!).

I enjoy working and interacting with other volunteers and KLT staff (Evan, Ian, Ed, Hayden, Chris, Dani, and Anna, to name a few).

Simply put, it is great to be outside doing things that give me a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction (my version of forest bathing!) while putting the natural world first.

If you think that you might be interested in this important role with KLT, let them know and you will be happy that you did!

We offer our thanks to Richard for his incredible work at KLT’s Ingleton-Wells Property, dedication to protecting the land he loves, and for sharing his first-hand account of what it’s like to be a volunteer Lead Property Steward at KLT.

If you’re interested in learning more about this volunteer role and which properties KLT is currently seeking Lead Property Stewards for, please reach out to Hayden Wilson, Land Stewardship Manager, at [email protected] or 705-743-5599.

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