Hello everybody, my name is Magnolia Roosa, and I am an Education and Conservation Intern for both Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park and Saratoga PLAN. My internship, funded through the New York State Conservation Partnership Program, allows me to explore various roles within the fields of environmental education and land conservation. Since I work with different collaborating organizations, my time each week is split between the two. On the days I spend with PLAN, I have two main roles. First, I help coordinate our wonderful crew of volunteer stewards, and second, I assist with HWA surveying and annual boundary monitoring on PLAN properties.  

I feel so extremely lucky to be working with this organization and the people involved, especially when it comes to the Monday Stewards. If you haven’t heard of them, they’re just about one of the most amazing groups of people you will ever come to meet. It all started at Hennig Preserve more than 10 years ago, when Barbara Hennig (one of the family members who donated the land to PLAN) had a vision for opening trails to the public. She put out the call and assembled a small team of friends that would eventually scout, build, and work to maintain the trails we see on Hennig Preserve today! Over time, that small group of friends turned into a network of trail-minded volunteers. Despite their backgrounds or occupations, their work on the trails is what gave them a common role and a beautiful connection to the outside world. They loved being outdoors and worked hard at what they did, enjoying each other’s company throughout it all.  

Thanks to the passion-driven dedication of Barbara Hennig, just one of the many influential figures within PLAN’s history, a strong volunteer stewarding crew still exists today! As motivated as ever, the group now travels county-wide. Called the Monday Stewards, this crew goes out each Monday, year-round, to different PLAN properties. There, they work on whatever trail maintenance tasks are needed, whether that be sweeping the trails and checking for any changes, building bog bridges, installing corduroy, replacing trail signs, removing blowdown, and more. Regardless of what it is, these people are on the job. Many of the volunteers have had prior trail maintenance experience, whether it be with PLAN or not, and their knowledge is invaluable to us. With their expertise, volunteers plan out some of the projects themselves, taking the lead to complete the task at hand.  

As time goes on, this group only expands in their capabilities. Some other projects the Monday Steward volunteers have helped with include conducting annual property boundary monitoring, collecting data and writing reports, GIS and mapping work, trail equipment maintenance and organizing, transporting lumber and machinery, leading educational walks, building various trail structures and kiosks, individually site-stewarding designated preserves, coordinating and developing work plans, manually fighting the spread of invasives, and SO much more. The list could truly go on and on, but I hope that gives you an idea of just how much these volunteers are able to accomplish. And the numbers prove it. Just this last quarter, more than 45 volunteers contributed to a total of more than 500 hours! Additionally, in 2022, volunteers compiled an astounding 2000+ hours by the end of the year. We at PLAN are so proud to recognize that these volunteers go above and beyond in everything they do.  

Overall, all I can say is that these volunteers really live up to their reputation. The volunteer crew is one of the very first things I heard about PLAN, and now I am so thankful to be working with them directly. Despite being new to this position and this field, this group has been so welcoming and nurturing that it feels like I’ve known them for much longer than I have. They are a force to be reckoned with, and an inspiration to not only those involved with PLAN, but the next generation of trail stewards too.  

If you are a volunteer steward, THANK YOU! 

Magnolia Roosa 

Interested in being a part of the crew? Fill out this volunteer application! https://saratogaplan.org/volunteer-application-form/ 

Contact Bonnie (bonnien@saratogaplan.org) or Magnolia (magnolia@saratogaplan.org) with any questions. 🙂