Karen began volunteering her time with BNRC in 2001, “doing monitoring, blazing, boundary marking, trail clearing, map making, writing, editing, documentation—whatever was needed—when George Wislocki was still president. It was a scrappy, hard-fighting organization with deep connections to sportsmen and a small group of supporters. Under Tad Ames’ leadership I’ve seen it merge with the digital world, take its place among top-ranked land trusts, earn the respect of a multitude of constituents, and operate according to the highest best-industry practices. Now under Jenny Hansell we can watch the unfolding of a county-wide system of interlocked trails called The High Road. Witnessing 17 years of institutional change has been a delight, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the best staff anywhere who work tirelessly to help conserve some of the most spectacular spaces in the Berkshires, to make them accessible for recreation and then to get us out there to enjoy it all.”
When we asked if she had a favorite BNRC property, she responded that she can’t pick just one. “Each of the “flagship” properties like Yokun Ridge has its special trails and places, but I hold a tender spot for the lesser known properties—peaceful Hallowell in Lenox with its lovely brook, tiny Kessler’s easy trails in Lanesborough. The Day property in Great Barrington with its unusual hospital history and beautiful forest, and Jackson in Stockbridge with the nice long boardwalk and birding opportunities. But then there are days when one HAS to go do the gladed loop in Stevens Glen and think about the dances once held on the glen platform, or one MUST take in the vistas at Hollow Fields and imagine the Morgan horses of its past trotting through.”
Karen offered insightful and motivating reasons to volunteer. “What can be better in these times than helping preserve what we are losing so quickly and carelessly—our open space, rural lands, and forests. Any efforts we make to value our natural resources and protect them help provide a chance for a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. There is no better or more meaningful way to spend my time than to work for an organization like BNRC. Plus, it’s great fun. Come join us!” Karen also serves as a board member for BNRC.
When you see Karen and her two golden retrievers on the trail, ask her about conservation, ask her about northeast trails and beyond, ask her about community organizing. You’ll receive an answer filled with contagious enthusiasm! Thank you, Karen!