Some exciting news for 2022 – Downeast Lakes Land Trust is rolling out a Volunteer Program! The program is set to launch this month with the goal of involving many more community members in the work and success of DLLT. With the addition of new conserved lands, new recreation initiatives, and forestry programs, we are always finding exciting opportunities to expand our conservation projects beyond staff capabilities. DLLT has been volunteer-driven since its founding, but our needs for more active volunteers are higher than ever.
The great thing about the Volunteer Program is it offers something for everyone. There are so many opportunities to be outside, hike the trails, canoe to a campsite, or work with kids at education programs and events. We even have opportunities for people who prefer being indoors. The flexibility of the Volunteer Program means that volunteers can participate in activities that they find enjoyable or rewarding.
With the 2022 summer season predicted to be busier than ever, we are looking for help from the public to accomplish all of our goals and objectives. One of the initiatives highlighted in the Volunteer Program is the weekly trail work days. Once a week, from June through August, volunteers will meet to rake, cut, paint, hang signs, and help maintain the nine hiking trails in the Downeast Lakes Community Forest. We are not only looking for individuals who are interested in working on trails to come out, but also for businesses and organizations to sponsor a week. Sponsoring is free, and only requires that the group come out for one day and help with the trails. Snacks and good company are always included!
Along with trail work, DLLT will be training volunteers to serve as courtesy boat inspectors and assist with milfoil surveys. Variable-leaf Milfoil is an invasive aquatic plant that has found its way into Big Lake and has proven to have detrimental effects on native flora and fauna in other Maine waterways. To help stop the spread of aquatic invasives, DLLT is spearheading the Big Lake Milfoil Coalition, and working with Coalition members to educate the public and train volunteers to search for infestations. This year, we are hoping to have Big Lake and West Grand Lake boat launches staffed with volunteers for at least 10 hours a week, doing courtesy boat inspections for aquatic invasives. It’s a great way to protect the lakes we all love and spend a warm, summer day by the water!
We hope to recruit individuals who are interested in donating their time to their local community forest. There are so many different options for volunteers that each person can find a project that really speaks to them – large event preparation, wood staining, loon raft building, trash clean-ups, campsite maintenance, office help, and much more. If any of these projects interest you, or if you have other ideas about how you can help, please send an email to DLLT Education and Volunteer Coordinator Sarah Cote at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at (207) 796-2100. In addition, keep an eye out in the coming months for our high-school-aged Environmental Steward positions for summer of 2022, and check the “Volunteer Opportunities” page on our website for ongoing projects and current updates.