Berkshire Natural Resources Council Blog

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Family Self-Guided Story Walk at Housatonic Flats, Great Barrington

Hike the 1 mile and enjoy the fun story of a young owl!

WHERE/WHEN:
Otis the Owl will be on display for a self-guided adventure from Saturday, May 15th – Tuesday, June 1st (dawn to dusk) at Housatonic Flats, Great Barrington.

In beautifully detailed photographs, Mary Holland captures the first few months of a baby barred owl s life. The huge eyes and fluffy feathers will steal the hearts of readers as they learn how barred owl parents ready their young owlets for the big world outside the nest. Follow along as Otis learns to eat, fights with his sister, and prepares for flight.

While the audience of the book is 1st to 2nd grade, the content is great for all ages- even adults!

Be sure to also check out the author’s incredible Naturally Curious blog.

Directions:

From Lee: From the Mass Pike/Big Y intersection, take Route 102 southwest toward Stockbridge. In Stockbridge turn left onto Route 7. After passing Monument Mountain, before reaching Price Chopper, look for the parking lot on the right side of the road.

From Great Barrington: From the Price Chopper, head north on Route 7 for less than half a mile. Parking will be on the left.

From Lenox: Take Route 7 or Route 7A south toward Great Barrington. After passing Monument Mountain, before reaching Price Chopper, look for the parking lot on the right side of the road.

GPS: 42.216357, -73.343895 (Trailhead parking)

Spring 2021 Volunteer Workdays

Safety Protocols (Revised Spring 2021) 

Considering the increase in access to vaccines and Governor Baker’s removal of the statewide mask mandate in Massachusetts effective the end of May, BNRC has adjusted its safety protocols for volunteer workdays for the spring and summer. Given the continually changing nature of pandemic conditions and related regulations, understand that these may be subject to change as well. We hope to continue to do our best to adjust and keep our staff and volunteers safe in this challenging time! 

  • BNRC volunteer workdays will be limited to 3-10 participants that must RSVP.  Staff members will not count toward the total participants.  
  • Self-screen your health and don’t come to a workday if: 
    • You or somebody in your household experiences COVID-19 symptoms or has traveled within the past 2 weeks to a location where COVID cases are high. 
    • Anyone in your household has been exposed to someone with COVID-19. 
  • Fully vaccinated participants may attend volunteer workdays without a face mask if comfortable doing so or are welcome to bring a mask and work masked as desired. BNRC will have extra masks in case someone forgets theirs. 
  • Participants who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear masks for workdays when social distancing is not possible Again, BNRC will provide masks as needed. 
  • All participants must practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet away from others on the trail. This includes stepping off the trail to let other visitors pass. 
  • Participants must bring their own water, snacks, and work gloves. BNRC will have work gloves to provide you to keep if necessary. 

Email Mariah at mauman@bnrc.org with any questions or to RSVP.


Thursday, June 3, 10:00 am – 1:30 pm (4-5 volunteers- at capacity)
Waterbar Cleaning and Corridor Clearing along the Burbank Trail, Richmond

Hike the 3.2-mile Burbank Trail and help to reshape and clean out waterbars as well as clear the trail corridor. BNRC will provide all tools and will sanitize them prior to use. Please wear sturdy shoes, and bring a mask, gloves, 32oz of water, and lunch. The outlined safety protocols must be followed. Also, if you have loppers and/or pruners, please feel free to bring.

  1. David Dutra
  2. Jack Lyons
  3. Bob Johnson
  4. Wendy Stebbins
  5. Peter Grealish

Tuesday, June 8, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (4 volunteers- at capacity)
Trail Surface work on the Burbank Trail, Richmond

Join us in fixing an area of washed-out trail. We’ll hike about 2 miles. BNRC will provide all tools and will sanitize them prior to use. Please wear sturdy shoes, and bring a mask, gloves, 32oz of water, and lunch. The outlined safety protocols must be followed.

  1. Donna Bernstein
  2. Ed Bernstein
  3. Jed Baumwell
  4. David Dutra

Family Self-Guided StoryWalk at The Boulders, Pittsfield

Hike the 1.25 miles and learn about the different shapes and sizes of animal noses!

WHERE/WHEN:
The StoryWalk® will be on display for a self-guided adventure from Saturday, April 17th – Sunday, April 25th (dawn to dusk) at The Boulders Reserve.

Noses come in all kinds of shapes and sizes that are just right for its particular animal host. Not only do most animals use their noses to breathe but for many animals, the sense of smell helps them find food, a mate, or even to know when danger is near! Mary Holland continues her photographic Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series by exploring many different animal noses and how those noses help the animals survive in their habitats.

While the audience of the book is Kindergarten to 3rd grade, the content is great for all ages- even adults!

Be sure to also check out the author’s incredible Naturally Curious blog and call the Berkshire Athenaeum for a list of recommended titles for kids on animal adaptations (413) 499-9480.

Directions:

The parking area is to the left of the house at this address: 1051 Dalton Ave, Pittsfield, MA 01201 and across from Hubbard Avenue. There is a stone staircase and informational kiosk entering the south access to The Boulders Reserve.


Did you know that you can check out a BNRC hiking backpack at the Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Libray?

The backpacks are filled will all the things you need for a safe, fun, and educational outdoor adventure.

  • Magnifying Glass
  • Pair of Binoculars
  • 2 Rain Ponchos
  • First Aid Kit
  • Wildflower & Tree Guide
  • Butterfly & Moth Guide
  • Bird Guide
  • Compass
  • Bug Spray
  • Journal

Be sure to check one out for your next adventure!

United Way Volunteer Workday

Volunteer Workday with the Berkshire Natural Resources Council In Honor of Virginia “Ginger” Stanton Smith
(6 volunteers needed)

Saturday, April 24, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Corridor and Vista clearing Saddle Trailhead at Alford Springs Reserve, Alford

This workday will focus on clearing the Saddle Trail corridor and a vista viewpoint on the Father Loop at Alford Springs. We’ll hike about 4 miles total. BNRC will provide all tools. Please wear sturdy shoes, and bring a mask, gloves, 32oz of water, and lunch. The outlined safety protocols must be followed. Also, if you have loppers and/or pruners, please feel free to bring them.

Directions:

Saddle Trailhead:
From Great Barrington: Take Taconic Avenue, which becomes Alford Road for roughly 4 miles. Turn left onto Alford Center Road for 0.2 miles. Continue onto West Road for 2.8 miles. The trailhead will be on your left.

From Pittsfield: Take Route 20 West and turn left onto Barker Road which becomes Swamp Road for 9.5 miles. Turn left onto MA-102 E/MA 41-S for 0.3 miles before turning right to stay on MA-41 S. In 2.1 miles turn right onto East Alford Road. Continue on East Alford Road to West Center Road (1.7 miles). Turn right onto West Center (0.6 miles), take a sharp left onto Wilson Road (0.6 miles), and continue onto West Road (1.7 miles). The trailhead will be on your right.

GPS: 42.274919, -73.427083 (Saddle Trailhead)

Seasonal Conservation Crew: Two Positions Available

Seasonal Conservation Crew.pdf

Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC), a private, non-profit land trust based in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is offering two Seasonal Conservation Crew positions to individuals exploring a career in the environmental field.

With 107 conservation restrictions (CR) and 56 reserves totaling over 24,000 acres under BNRC management, the Conservation Crew’s time will be spent assisting BNRC’s Stewardship Coordinator with monitoring of CRs and boundary maintenance of BNRC properties. In addition to fieldwork, the crew will also help with compiling land management plans and baseline documents. The 40-hour/week position provides a $14 hourly wage. The crew will enjoy a high level of independence and a large amount of self-motivation is required. There is a mix of approximately 80% fieldwork to 20% office work. The seasonal position dates are May 24 to August 13, with some flexibility on both ends.

BNRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We especially welcome applications from BIPOC, LGBTQ+, women, and veterans. We are actively engaged in ensuring our properties are welcoming to all, and in increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our work.

Responsibilities:

  • Regular maintenance of BNRC property boundaries (marking, painting, signing)
  • Monitoring of BNRC’s fee owned property and conservation restrictions
  • Assist with writing Land Management Plans
  • Assist with writing Baseline Documentation Reports
  • Other stewardship related tasks as required

Requirements:

  • Ability to work unsupervised
  • Comfort with being alone in the woods
  • Ability to carry up to a 30-pound pack for 5 miles over rough terrain
  • Proficiency with ArcGIS preferred
  • Strong communication skills
  • Willingness to work outside in all weather conditions
  • Personal transportation

Opportunities and Experiences:

  • Learn about basic land management techniques and challenges
  • Learn about land conservation in the Berkshires
  • 3 paid personal days, with the opportunity for a season’s end bonus.

Personal vehicles will be used extensively due to social distancing guidelines. Mileage will be reimbursed periodically.

Interviews will be set up on a rolling basis starting Monday, March 1 until the positions are filled.  Please submit a cover letter, resume and three references to Nicole Pyser, npyser@bnrc.org. Additional information can be found at www.bnrc.org, or by calling 413-499-0596.

The seasonal positions are made possible by John Rice and family.

Spring Ephemeral Checklist

Common NameEst. Bloom   
Skunk CabbageFeb
Blue CohostApril
Early SaxifrageApril
False HelleboreApril
Red TrilliumApril
White TrilliumApril
Yellow VioletApril
Purple VioletApril
Wild GingerApril
HepaticaApril
ColtsfootApril
Trout LilyApril
Cut Leaved ToothwortApril
Dutchman's BreechesMay
BloodrootMay
Spring BeautyMay
Jack in the PulpitMay
MiterwortMay
False Solomon's SealMay
Golden AlexandersMay
Common FleabaneMay
Rue AnemoneMay
Fringed PolygalaMay
Solomon's SealMay
Wild ColumbineMay
Wild GeraniumMay
Early Meadow RueMay
May AppleMay
CrowfootMay
American BladdernutMay
Herb RobertMay

Trail Crew Member: Two Positions Available

Trail Crew Member.pdf

Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC), a private, non-profit land trust based in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is offering Trail Crew positions to individuals interested in hands on, rewarding work throughout 12,000 acres and 55+ miles of trails under BNRC supervision and some of the most spectacular natural environments in Berkshire County.  

This is a full-time, seasonal position (May through Octoberinvolving the construction of new hiking trails and the reconstruction/maintenance of existing trails on Berkshire Natural Resources Council properties.  The majority of the season will be spent maintaining hiking trails and paths, and constructing trail features such as retaining walls, steps, bog bridging, hiking tread, and other trail features.  Other duties include hiking existing trails to clear blowdownsassess trail maintenance needs and make repairs, and other property stewardship related tasks.  The crew may also assist with outreach events such as volunteer workdays.  Trail Crew members often work solo and self-motivation is required. Trail Crew members report directly to the Trail Crew Leader 

 BNRC prioritizes employee health and safety and as such, COVID-19 related guidelines are in effect.  Applicants must be able and willing to follow state health and safety protocols as well as those instituted by BNRC.  BNRC provides basic PPE to field staff. 

BNRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  We especially welcome applications from BIPOC, LGBTQ+, women, and veterans.  We are actively engaged in ensuring our properties are welcoming to all, and increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our work.                                                                     

Responsibilities 

  • Perform trail maintenance and construction (with appropriate training and guidance) to a high standard of quality. 
  • Work collaboratively with trail crewmates, staff across the organization, and with volunteers, youth crews and professional trail crews while maintaining ongoing social distancing guidelines. 
  • Represent BNRC with integrity and professionalism at work and when engaging with the public. 
  • Use and maintain tools and equipment to high safety standards. 
  • Other duties as required. 
  • Trail building experience or landscape construction experience is welcomed but not necessary to apply; the ideal candidate will have a willingness to learn, a strong work ethic, and an open mind. 

Requirements 

  • Work independently as well as collaboratively with other team members. 
  • Complete assigned projects and tasks, meet deadlines and manage multiple tasks. 
  • Learn on the job and adopt specific construction methods and skills as prescribed. 
  • Commitment to natural resource protection and Leave No Trace ethics (prior experience with these concepts is not necessary). 
  • Strong commitment to quality work, a positive attitude, and a professional demeanor. 
  • Commitment to friendly and helpful interaction with hikers and other BNRC visitors on the trails and in public. 
  • Interest in learning about trail design and treatments and developing trail building skills 
  • Must be able to hike with up to 50 pounds of gear and tools. 
  • Willing to work outdoors in adverse weather conditions. 
  • Willing to follow basic dress code requirements (long pants, work/ hiking boots).
  • Must be able to travel throughout Berkshire County to work in remote locations. 
  • Valid driver’s license and reliable transportation required.  Due to state COVID-19 guidelines, crew members may be required to utilize personal vehicles for transportation to and from work sites.  Mileage beyond a certain baseline distance will be reimbursed. 

Benefits  

This is a seasonal, non-exempt, hourly paid position, based in Pittsfield, MA.  $14-$16 per hour depending on experience.  BNRC offers excellent benefits including 401k eligibility, as well as health insurance, sick and vacation time, accrued at the rate specified in the BNRC Employee Handbook.  Please submit a cover letter, resume and three references to Tyler Fogg c/o frontdesk@bnrc.org.