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2019 October Enews


Bring the apple cider and they will come.

Harvest season kicked off with a new bridge for the Threemile Hill Trail

Photo by Gabrielle K. Murphy

Volunteers and representatives from MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Great Barrington Land Conservancy (GBLC), and Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) gathered at Fountain Pond on a chilly September morning. The goal for the day was to replace a rustic footbridge along the Threemile Hill Trail.

Background was given about the power of partnership before the workday began from GBLC, DCR, and BNRC representatives. The Threemile Hill Trail crosses property owned by DCR, BNRC, and Berkshire South Community Center and was accomplished through the Great Barrington Trails & Greenways collaboration. This trail connects to the more recent Community Health Programs Loop which has increased public use. Adam Morris, Forest and Park Regional Coordinator (DCR), also told the story of the land history and how what we see today is a clue into the past.

  

Photo by Gabrielle K. Murphy

With an elevated understanding of the project, the crew began plugging away at the needed tasks: measuring the bridge site, felling two trees, bucking up and then debarking the trees, moving the prepared logs to their new home, securing them, and lastly, applying the finishing touches—easy enough? Absolutely, with a group of spirited volunteers! Five hours later (with a break for lunch, cider, and apple cake) the project was complete!

The end result was satisfying to say the least. All involved left with a huge sense of gratitude for the artistic skills and physical efforts that go into trail structures and maintenance.

Click here for maps and trail information.

Photo by Gabrielle K. Murphy

Photo by Gabrielle K. Murphy

2019 September Enews

Wrenegade Berkshire Farm to Fork Fondo (2+ volunteers)

Berkshire Fondo website

 

Volunteer with BNRC at the Wrenegade Berkshire Farm to Fork Fondo on September 28-29 and enjoy the music and festival market after your shift!

The event is based at Hancock Shaker Village.

Event Description: An organized bicycle ride where you get to choose the distance best for you and stop for chef-prepared bites at farms along the way.

What’s special about Farm to Fork Fondo volunteers? Every person who participates in the Volunteer Competition supports a worthy local cause. Our Volunteer Competition challenges farms and organizations to bring the most spirit to the Fondo in a way that represents their mission while volunteers help participants stay hydrated, fueled up, and most of all – have fun!

BNRC is looking for a team to help with:

  • Parking on Saturday 9/28 from 3:30-7:00pm, or Sunday 9/29 7:00-8:30am
  •  Do a shift in the cyclists finish line tent on Sunday 9/29 from 11:00am-3:00pm, or 2:00pm-5:00pm

If interested, please contact Rich Montone at rmontone@bnrc.org or 413-499-0596.

Alford Springs Workday (5-10 volunteers)

Friday, October 11, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Clear the trail corridor of the 4.3-mile Father Loop.

Please wear sturdy closed-toe shoes, bring lunch and water. BNRC will provide all tools, gloves, and trail snacks.

Directions:

From Great Barrington: Take Taconic Avenue, which becomes Alford Road. Drive past Simon’s Rock to a left on Seekonk Road; follow Seekonk Road (becomes Green River Road) for 3.6 miles. Turn right on to Mountain Road (if you come to the New York State line, you’ve gone too far). Follow Mountain Road for 0.8 miles, bearing left at the first “Y” and left again at the sharp right turn at 0.8 miles.

From Pittsfield: Take Route 20 West and turn left onto Route 41 heading south. Drive to Great Barrington and turn right onto Division Street which becomes Seekonk Road. Follow Seekonk Road which becomes Green River Road, turning right on Mountain Road (if you cross the NY state border you have gone a little too far. Follow Mountain Road for 0.8 miles, bearing left at the first “Y” and left again at the sharp right turn at 0.8 miles.

Please RSVP to Mariah at mauman@bnrc.org or call 413-499-0596.

Burbank Trail Workday (5 volunteers)

Thursday, September 26, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Help to shape and clean out the water bars on the Burbank Trail!

Please wear sturdy shoes and bring water and a snack.

Directions to Olivia’s Overlook:

From Lenox: Take Route 183 west for 1.5 miles, passing Tanglewood. When Route 183 curves left, bear right onto Richmond Mountain Road (sign says to Rt. 41/Richmond). Drive 1.5 miles and the parking lot will be on your left.

From West Stockbridge: Head north on Swamp Road and make an immediate right onto Lenox Road. At 2.0 miles, turn right and continue another 0.1 mile to Olivia’s Overlook on the right.

From Pittsfield: Take Rt. 20 west 0.8 miles. Make a left onto Barker Road and drive 6.6 miles. Make a left onto Lenox Road and drive 1.8 miles to Olivia’s Overlook, on the right.

Please RSVP to Mariah at mauman@bnrc.org or call 413-499-0596.

Old Mill Trail Workday (10-15 volunteers)

Wednesday, September 18, 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm

The Housatonic Valley Association, in partnership with BNRC, is determined to eradicate the invasive species along this stretch of the East Branch of the Housatonic River. Come learn about the effort and participate in making this vision a reality. We’ll primarily be focusing on the removal of garlic mustard and also do some regular maintenance on the trail (raking, pulling weeds from the trail surface). BNRC will provide all tools and gloves.

Please wear sturdy shoes and bring water and a snack.

Directions: From the center of Dalton: take Route 8 south to the Hinsdale line. From the town line, continue 4/10 miles to a left on Old Dalton Road. The trailhead parking is the first, immediate left.

Please RSVP to Mariah at mauman@bnrc.org or call 413-499-0596.

Richmond Land Trust Pie Social (5 volunteers)

Saturday, September 7, 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Help BNRC and the Richmond Land Trust with parking and set up for the RLT’s annual Pie Social. Volunteers will be asked to help out with for a portion of the time with parking, set up and break down, but will also be able to enjoy the event and eat plenty of pie!

Directions:

From Great Barrington: Take Route 41 north into Richmond. After passing Route 295, Perry’s Peak Road will be the next left approximately one mile down the road. On Perry Peak Road, find the parking at the second red barn on the left, with a BNRC sign by the road. Please do not park directly on Perry’s Peak Road in any season.
From Pittsfield: Get on West Housatonic Street (Route 20) heading west. Turn left onto Route 41 just before Hancock Shaker Village. After 2.5 miles turn right onto Perry’s Peak Road. Parking is signed, second red barn on the left. Please do not park directly on Perry’s Peak Road in any season.

Please RSVP to Mariah at mauman@bnrc.org or call 413-499-0596.

Gardening tips for lovers of the outdoors

Being aware of our impact on our landscapes both wild and cultivated has never been more important to protecting the health of plants, insects and animals. Beginning with our garden we can implement some simple practices that will enhance its overall ecological health.

After a day of walking or hiking your footwear could have picked up seeds of invasive plants. Cleaning them off before you walk in your own landscape helps to minimize the transfer of invasives such as bush honeysuckle, Japanese knotweed and Oriental Bittersweet to name a few.

It should go without saying that the practice of carry in and carry out extends to not carrying out what you did not take in, plants, fungi, soil, insects, etc. This protects the landscape AND your garden from potential unwanted destructive effects, bringing home invasive plants, unwanted pathogens or perhaps…the invasive earthworm, called Asian jumping worm, crazy worm or snake worm. The name describes their movement, fast, snakelike and “jumpy.” Since 1937 they have increasingly devastated landscapes because of their voracious appetite, eating the organic layer of the forest and soil leaving behind large amounts of coffee ground like castings. https://www.recorder.com/Invasive-snake-worm-problems-make-their-presence-felt-in-region-16902871 This depletes the organic component needed by trees and shown to be involved in the decline of sugar maples. https://phys.org/news/2017-08-invasive-earthworms-root-sugar-maple.html

Bringing in home dug plants, compost or mulch poses a risk for bringing in invasive plants, seeds and Asian worm. You are safer using your own compost and fall and leaves as mulch to minimize your risk of introducing these to your garden. This also increases organic matter in the garden, healthy soil microbes and helps preserve moisture during dry and hot weather.

Adding native plants for nectar and larval food sources for butterflies and insects assures the presence of diverse insects and birds. Plants such as milkweed for monarchs, dill and fennel for swallowtails and wild blue lupines for the rare Karner Blue butterfly are a few examples of larval foods.  https://www.ecobeneficial.com/

Finally, not using pesticides improves the health of all insects, animals, you and the environment! The of internet and your local Master Gardener association offer further resources for ecological gardening information.

Happy gardening and happy hiking!

Marianne Zimberg, Master Gardener
Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association

email hotline: askwmmga@gmail.com

telephone hotline: (413) 298-5355

https://www.wmmga.org/

SEASONAL TRAIL CONSTRUCTION ASSISTANT

SeasonalTrailConstructionAsst.pdf

This is a seasonal position (approximately August- October) focusing on the construction of new hiking trails and reconstruction of existing trails on Berkshire Natural Resources Council’s properties.  The majority of the season will be spent building single track tread, constructing stone and/or timber trail features such as retaining wall, steps, and patio-laid stone.  Other duties may include hiking other established trails to clear blowdowns, make minor repairs and assess other trail needs.

Essential Functions

  • Performs both basic and advanced trail work (with appropriate training and guidance) to a high standard of quality.
  • Performs heavy reconstructive trail work including, but not limited to: single track tread construction, tread hardening, rock construction (cribbing, staircases).
  • Works collaboratively as part of the Trails Team, with other staff across the organization, and with volunteers.
  • Uses and maintains vehicles, tools and equipment to the highest safety standards.
  • Other duties as assigned with or without accommodation.

Qualifications

  • Minimum of one year or season of professional experience in construction, landscaping, or other trades associated with the responsibilities of the position.
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively with other team members.
  • Ability to complete assigned projects and tasks, meet deadlines and manage multiple tasks.
  • Ability to learn on the job and adopt specific construction methods and skills as prescribed.
  • Commitment to natural resource protection and Leave No Trace ethics.
  • Strong commitment to quality work and a positive attitude.

Work Requirements                                        

  • Must be able to hike with up to 50 pounds of gear and tools.
  • Must be willing to work outdoors in adverse weather conditions.
  • Must be able to travel throughout Berkshire County to work in remote locations.
  • Valid driver’s license and reliable vehicle required.
  • Experience working with volunteer groups preferred.
  • Interest in learning about trail design and treatments and developing trail building skills

Benefits and Salary

This is a seasonal, non-exempt, hourly paid position, based in Pittsfield, MA.

Pay starting at $13.  Please direct inquiries to Tyler Fogg at Tfogg@bnrc.org or (413) 499-0596.