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The Greater Worcester Land Trust: or How I Became a Ranger

The cab driver had to set the GPS for Ash St. We looked up the address because we never knew this street even existed. On the way there, I had so many thoughts going through my mind. We were heading to a meeting of the Greater Worcester Land Trust volunteer Rangers, to meet others and sign up to be Rangers for the 27 acres that make up Crow Hill…a fairly recent addition to the Land Trust and now a conservation area. One of the entrances to the area is just two blocks from our house.

We had been to Crow Hill recently and were surprised at how many trees had grown there since our last visit. Also, it had become a conservation area since our last visit. Rob has loved the area since he was young and played there as a boy and we had taken our kids there to picnic and hike when they were young. But, being a Ranger? This was different.

When we arrived at the building – the only multi level dwelling left on Ash St – we found our way in and met the Coordinator, Mary Caulway and found a seat at the table. As people arrived, an informal meeting took place, during which we learned about local invasive species and different projects that are happening around the city. We met some of the other Rangers, including those involved with Crow Hill and shared some of the things we had found during our hike through earlier that morning.

During the meeting Colin Novick, the Executive Director and some other people, made homemade pizza and passed it around. Delicious!

What was going through my head and still is now – is that there are huge amounts of open space in and around Worcester that are conservation lands and are protected and cared for by such a few people. There are great needs that remain for people to step up and put on some hiking shoes and see the beauty that is all around us here.

Also going through my mind during the meeting was that I didn’t belong there. It has only been a few weeks since I first heard of this group and now I was volunteering to be a Ranger? Who does that? I was sitting next to women who spend the better part of their weeks in these conservation areas documenting and cataloging information, and I have just begun. As the meeting progressed, I realized that I was aware of many of the issues they discussed and I have a great desire to contribute and protect the areas that are still natural. I realized that anything we could contribute was needed. Nothing would be too small an effort…

I think it’s about time people stopped focusing on the negative and started seeing that a few people are making a great deal of difference in Worcester County and The GWLT is just one of those groups.

I find myself – every once in awhile – saying or thinking “I’m a Ranger”…and I smile for two reasons…I always picture myself in a funny hat, and I am a little surprised at how happy it makes me.

It’s probably the birds. There were so many birds singing that I didn’t recognize and I can’t wait for better weather to go back and see if I can photograph or record them.

An adventure for another day….


(One of our favorite areas – near a pond and river)

"Our dreams drench us in sense, and sense steeps us again in dreams." ~Amos Bronson Alcott