Reflections from Summer Land Stewards

  • Sean Heagerty (l) and Ryan Aubertine haul materials into the Crooked Creek Preserve.

Ryan Aubertine

Being my second year as a Summer Land Steward, I knew what to expect working for TILT, but with COVID, everything had changed. For the most part I was the only Summer Land Steward, which allowed me to spend more time taking care of the preserves that I had longed to see like Potters Beach, the River view at Macsherry, and the cliff views at Otter Creek. Seeing new additions since last summer was nice as well. The Rivergate Trail is a pleasant walk back to a trestle bridge that has to be the best view in my opinion.

Sadly, due to COVID, all TILT’s events were cancelled. This was a big disappointment since the events are fun to work at. Instead, I got to help with the big projects. These were mainly on Grindstone Island. I helped to build a road, clean up Potters Beach, and another property on the Island. I will never forget going across from the mainland to Grindstone on a huge barge that was bringing heavy equipment to the Island. Those two weeks on Grindstone really showed the beauty of the Island that most people don’t get to see.

Working for TILT really showed me how important the Land Trust is. I saw firsthand how to help care for the land while allowing people to see and experience nature. It was a pleasure and I am thankful to have the opportunity to work there.

Sean Heagerty

My return to TILT this year was unexpected. I had planned on starting an internship at National Grid last May but my start date was pushed up to July. This left me two months of unemployment, and I am incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to come back to TILT.

I worked as a Land Steward back in the summer of 2018 and found it to be one of my most valuable employment opportunities. There is something about working in the heat and mud and bugs that really makes any job you will do after that feel like a cake walk.

My experience this past summer was a little different from 2018. A large part of my work included the marking of our preserve boundaries. This involved me using a GPS to ensure I was on the boundary line, all the while carrying a bag full of nails, signs, flag- ging, and high-viz tree paint. You quickly learn the hard way that the property lines are not always chosen to most easily fit the landscape.

I got the opportunity to bushwhack through miles of fields, thick brush, old growth forests, 60 foot cliff faces, and swamps, and I am honestly grateful for it. I did also get to do some of the normal Land Steward tasks such as trail maintenance which was always refreshing. One particular project I helped on was rebuilding a footbridge along the Macsherry Trail on the Crooked Creek Preserve. I helped carry all of the lumber into the woods for the bridge, and worked with the rest of the stewardship staff on its construction.

All in all I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to return to TILT and I would like to thank Brandon, Jake and the rest of the staff for giving me the opportunity to come back. A lot of things about 2020 haven’t been great, but for me I can safely say my experience coming back to TILT was.

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