Youth Conservation Corps at Binky Lee Preserve
Over the past week, our Binky Lee Preserve manager, Darin Groff, had the pleasure of working with a group of 18 young adults on a number of preserve improvement projects. The volunteers came from all over the country and there was even a girl from France! They split up into six different groups, each headed by an experienced stewardship staff member, who they dubbed the “crew boss.”
These volunteers are part of the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC). This organization, founded by the National Park Service, sends kids between the ages of 15 and 18 to national parks and other nature preserves on weekly summer programs. While there, they work to help restore and protect the natural and historic resources of these natural areas. The volunteers reaped the benefits of working closely with our experts here at Natural Lands Trust, by learning some extremely valuable land stewardship skills.
While at the Binky Lee Preserve, these young adults had the opportunity to work on a number of projects. One major project was the cutting and controlling of invasive plants in the area. Invasive species can damage local ecosystems and habitats, while decreasing the number of native plants. Native plants are important to natural communities because they support beneficial pollinators, naturally clean ground water, and help to protect the land from floods. Not to mention, they help to increase the diversity of wildlife that visitors enjoy spotting on our preserves.
The volunteers at Binky Lee also power-washed equipment, edged and weeded gardens, and helped clean out the preserve’s barn. The amount of work the 18 kids completed in one day normally would have taken Darin and a fellow worker two weeks to complete! And for that, we thank them!