Are you someone who enjoys exploring the outdoors and observing the beauty of nature? Are you interested in contributing to the vital mission of the Black Swamp Conservancy by taking leisurely walks in the woods? If you have a few spare afternoons and a passion for conservation, we invite you to join us as a volunteer for our easement monitoring program.
What are Conservation Easements?
Conservation easements are crucial agreements where private landowners willingly commit to restricting the use of their properties to protect their conservation values indefinitely. To ensure the preservation of these lands, the Conservancy conducts annual visits to all protected properties. With around 175 easement properties currently under our care, this task demands more hands-on-deck than our small paid staff can manage. That’s where volunteers like you play a significant role.
Your Role as an Easement Monitoring Volunteer
No specialized skills or tools are required to become an easement monitor. The process is simple and rewarding. Here’s what a monitoring visit entails:
- Contacting the Landowner: Upon receiving your assigned property, you’ll reach out to the landowner, whether it’s a park district or a private owner. The landowner may choose to accompany you during the visit or simply provide you with the green light to proceed.
- Scheduling the Visit: You can select a convenient time to visit the property and conduct the monitoring.
- On-Site Observation: During your visit, take notes and photographs of the property. Document any changes or new developments that you notice since the last visit. If you come across anything noteworthy or unique, be sure to capture it in pictures.
- Uploading the Report: After completing the visit, you’ll upload your observations and images using a user-friendly app called Landscape, which the Conservancy uses to store data.
Training and Requirements for Easement Monitoring Volunteers
Volunteers will receive comprehensive training on how to utilize the Landscape app efficiently. To use the app, you’ll need a smartphone or tablet with Wi-Fi or cellular data connectivity. Your task involves walking the property’s borders and exploring paths or as much of the interior as practically possible. Don’t worry; you’ll be provided with previous visit notes to aid your observations.
Your Impact as an Easement Monitoring Volunteer
Ellie Schiappa, our dedicated Conservation Associate, manages the monitoring program and reviews the reports that come in. Any significant findings that require action will be addressed by our land steward. By contributing your time and efforts, you play a vital role in helping us identify potential issues and ensure the continued health and compliance of these protected lands.
Join the Cause as an Easement Monitoring Volunteer
Those who have chosen to place their land under conservation easement are committed to maintaining its health and adherence to mutually agreed-upon terms. Though problems are rare in these visits, continuous monitoring is essential to safeguard the land under our protection.
Make a positive impact on the environment, one step at a time. Join us in preserving the natural wonders of northwest Ohio. Together, we can make a difference in conservation.
To volunteer, please click the button below and fill out our Volunteer Easement Monitor Interest Form. To learn more about our monitoring program, contact Ellie Schiappa via email or call 419-833-1025.