Volunteer Spotlight: September 2020

Volunteer Spotlight: September 2020

Maryellen Mara-Christian & Mark Christian  – Trail Monitors, Kirby Conservation Area

Often those who love the land want others to love it as much as they do. And who better than those who not only love the land but are willing to work hard on this land to serve as trail volunteers?

Always attentive to the needs of our trails, the Trail Monitors alert us to any issues at the conservation areas, a critical step in the success of our work. Maryellen and Mark do just that and we are grateful for the work of this dedicated duo.

Get to know a little bit about Maryellen and Mark in their interview below:

NCLT: Why did you start looking for a volunteer opportunity?

MM-C & MC: Well, actually we weren’t.  We had been actively looking for someone to help us figure out how to conserve our land.  That’s how we met Jassy Bratko at North County Land Trust.  Jassy met with us and explained the details of conservation restrictions and asked us questions about our goals.  While walking our property, I asked Jassy, if there was anything we could do to help.  That’s how we learned a trail monitor was needed at Kirby Conservation which has turned out to be a perfect opportunity to help in a small way.

NCLT: Why North County Land Trust?

MM-C & MC: We quickly felt we were in good hands with NCLT.  We believe in their mission to conserve the farms, forests, and landscapes in our region and feel this particular land conservation organization is a great fit for us to complete our mission of preserving our land as open space long after we are gone.

NCLT: What do you love about the work you’re doing for us?

MM-C & MC: Being the trail monitors for Kirby isn’t work at all!  We are constantly clearing trails on our property which is down the street from Kirby.  So it’s great to take some time maintaining trails for the public to use.  Simply,  it’s a good thing to give back to our community and help NCLT at the same time.  Kirby is a beautiful conservation area tucked away in the woods bordering Ashby and Ashburnham.  It is a very peaceful place to visit with a number of easily accessible trails.  We are honored to be a part of the stewardship program.

NCLT: If you could spend more time doing 1 thing what would that be?

MM-C & MC: This is the most difficult question of all….we both had trouble answering this which only tells us that we are doing just what we want to do!

NCLT: Is there an experience you’ve had that you wish all people could have?

MM-C & MC: Too many to list!  Mark and I spend so much time outside.  We hunt and we fish.  Mark and I were fortunate to retire together relatively young.  We continue to work doing what we call fun jobs….Mark commercial fishes out of Provincetown and I work on an oyster farm in Barnstable.  Because of these experiences and a lot of time sitting in tree stands ….we wish more people would spend time in the woods at dawn and dusk to see the woods wake up and go to bed.  That first and last hour of the day is magic.

NCLT: Do you have a favorite quote/book/poem? What is it?

MM-C & MC: Mark’s favorite book is “The Old Man’s Boy Grows Older” by Robert Ruark. And my mom often used the quote, “This too Shall Pass.” I thought that it was an appropriate quote for these unprecedented, unsettling times.

If you’re interested in volunteering with NCLT, visit the Volunteer page to let us know!