What is Stewardship?
Stewardship is “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care”. For the Waterford Land Trust, stewardship is the perpetual care of the preserves and conservation easements held by the trust.
Properties donated to the trust in fee are called Preserves. Some Preserves are passive and require minimal maintenance, while others may require extensive measures to control soil erosion, removal of invasive vegetation, prevention and control of insect pests and tree diseases, etc.
Conservation easements are a legally binding agreement between a landowner and a land trust where the owner retains many private property rights. Conservation easements are monitored at least annually to detect any changes and to ensure the property is being used in accordance with the terms of the restrictions placed on it.
Our stewardship objectives are to protect and restore habitats for flora and fauna including natural resources; provide public access to our lands and foster a culture of conservation through education and volunteer participation. Stewards volunteer to monitor and care for properties, typically near their home. Stewards act as the eyes and ears of the land trust and visit their property on a regular basis reporting what they see, good or bad.
The Land Management Committee will train Stewards to:
- Inspect properties followed by the completion and submission of a Steward report.
- Document issues such as erosion, downed trees, encroachment, evidence of motorized vehicles, wood cutting and safety issues. One picture is worth a thousand words!
- Volunteers and WLT board members will be relied on to clear trails, remove trash, repair erosion and respond to other issues reported by Stewards.
- Follow nature preserve guidelines and safety protocols.
- Perform annual boundary walks with WLT board members.
- Stewards will be required to sign a volunteer waiver.
Stewardship Activity Report
This form is to be completed after a property visit by volunteer Stewards who are monitoring and caring for WLT conserved properties. While you do not need to submit a report for every visit, we ask that you submit a report whenever you see something that needs our attention. Please submit at least one report each season.
Thank you for stewarding your property and for sharing a record of your observations and work with us. Please know that we could not do the important work of caring for our conserved lands without you!