Last Tuesday, May 21st, the Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust stewardship volunteers gathered at the office, clad in waterproof clothing, to start a day of training. The morning began inside with coffee and bagels while outside, the rain poured.
The stewardship volunteers are the pillar of our stewardship program and their presence on this rainy day was a testament to their commitment to ensuring SSLT’s conservation easement properties are monitored annually.
The morning was spent reviewing SSLT monitoring policy, filling out paperwork, and reviewing the conservation easement format. Most importantly, though, it was spent revisiting why we have a stewardship program and why monitoring our properties on a yearly basis is important.
With each conservation easement we close, we are committing to ensuring that the terms of the easement are upheld. Closing day is always exciting but our job extends far beyond the day the ink dries. Conservation easements are perpetual and so we are signing up for protecting them forever.
Forever is a long time but with the help of our stewardship volunteers, the task of monitoring an ever-growing list of conservation easement properties isn’t as daunting.
At the training, after a productive review of monitoring practices, everyone put their coats back on and headed to the field.
Though the rain continued throughout the afternoon, once we were out in it, it really wasn’t that bad. As a matter of fact, the low-hanging clouds made the grass look greener, the damp sagebrush smelled sweeter, and the call of the red-winged black bird came in higher and brighter through the sprinkle.
At the end of the day, it was a great way to start out the stewardship season. It was a reminder that, rain or shine, monitoring our properties is one of the more rewarding parts of the job and that we are very lucky to have a group of committed volunteers to help us make the program a success.
For anyone who is interested in joining the stewardship team, please contact Kelly Conde at firstname.lastname@example.org.