Get Outdoors, Get Involved

As October winds down, and we slide into November, it is time to thank the hundreds of volunteers who helped make The Last Green Valley’s Walktober such a success. Walktober wouldn’t happen without the dedication of volunteers from the many organizations that host Walktober walks, hikes, programs and events.

Hundreds of thousands of participants have enjoyed The Last Green Valley’s signature October event for 27 years. They know firsthand the intrinsic value of enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides, and we are grateful for every volunteer walk leader.

Have you ever thought about helping with or leading a Walktober walk, hike or program? Do you have a special interest in The Last Green Valley’s cultural and natural resources that you would like to share with the public? There are many opportunities for you to get out and get involved. Here are a few suggestions:

Become a volunteer ranger of The Last Green Valley.

Our volunteer rangers lead walks, hikes and paddles for Walktober. They also help us by staffing our information booth at many local events, fairs, festivals and town gatherings. Rangers are the face of our organization throughout the national heritage corridor and critical to our public outreach to the region’s communities. Rangers are trained by me and the commitment can be as small or large as desired. Some rangers are busy every month, while others have a few programs they specialize in throughout the year. If you’re interested in becoming a TLGV volunteer ranger, check out our website and click on the ranger tab for information. http://thelastgreenvalley.org/learn-protect/tlgv-rangers/

Join a land trust and get involved as a land steward.

There a several land trusts actively working to preserve open space in The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor. Their work helps ensure the beautiful habitat we enjoy living in will be enjoyed by future generations. Our land trust partners offered many walks, hikes and informative programs for Walktober, and we are lucky to have so many dedicated and knowledgeable people volunteering for and supporting the important work of land trusts. Here are some of the land trusts headquartered in The Last Green Valley with their websites so you can learn more.

Avalonia Land Conservancy is the largest land trust in southeastern Connecticut with a mission to preserve natural habitats by acquiring and protecting lands and by communicating the value of these irreplaceable resources. For more information on their work and opportunities for involvement go to their website at http://avalonialandconservancy.org.

Dudley Conservation Land Trust has worked to conserve lands for agriculture, landscape preservation, recreation and wildlife. In total, 2,603 acres enjoy permanent conservation status in the Town of Dudley, representing 19 percent of the 21 square miles within the town. For more information about their work and opportunities for involvement go to their website at http://www.dudleyclt.org.

Eastern Connecticut Forest Landowners Association & Wolf Den Land Trust has a goal to preserve diverse habitats and open space for future generations and to demonstrate healthy stewardship activities on their land trust parcels. The land trust owns 14 properties in northeastern Connecticut, totaling 885 acres. For more information on their work and opportunities for involvement go to their website at http://www.ecfla.org.

Joshua’s Trust — officially, Joshua’s Tract Conservation and Historic Trust — is the largest land trust in northeastern Connecticut, protecting more than 4,000 acres in 17 communities. For more information on their work and opportunities for involvement go to their website at http://joshuastrust.org.

The New Roxbury Land Trust was created in 1999 to preserve open space, protect agricultural lands, forests, natural resources and wildlife habitats and encourage the use of easements and rights of way in the towns of Woodstock, Eastford, Pomfret, Putnam, Thompson and Union. Learn more and get involved by visiting their website at http://nrlt.org

Opacum Land Trust is a 13-town land conservation organization working to protect natural and cultural resources in south-central Massachusetts. To learn more about their work and opportunities for getting involved to go to their website at http://opacumlt.org.

Wyndham Land Trust has more than 50 parcels of land in 10 towns of northeastern Connecticut totaling more than 2,270 acres. To learn more about their work and opportunities for getting involved check out their website at http://wyndhamlandtrust.org.

Join your local historical society or museum.

Some of the first organizations to promote the idea of a national heritage corridor through “Walking Weekend” tours were our region’s many historical societies and museums.

A quick glance through the 2017 Walktober Guide will demonstrate the important role they still play in the success of this region-wide program. If you’re interested in history, I bet there is a historical society and/or museum near you that would welcome you as a member, volunteer or participant as they work to preserve local, regional and, often, national history.

We live in a beautiful region full of amazing natural and cultural resources and Walktober is YOUR month-long program that allows thousands of people to get out and enjoy the national heritage corridor.

We live in a region where the spirit of volunteerism runs deep. I hope you’ll consider joining one of the many volunteer-based organizations that make Walktober possible. You just might find your own opportunity to get outdoors, get involved, and help care for, enjoy and pass on the special place we call The Last Green Valley.

Bill Reid is the chief ranger of The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor. He has lived in the region for more than 30 years and can be reached at bill@tlgv.org.