JUNE 2020
New Avalonia Volunteer Guidelines
Volunteers Jeff Whitehead, Carl Tjerandsen and Kelly Allen (l to r) safely construct a bench at the top of Lambert Mountain on the TriTown Forest Preserve . Photo Sue Sutherland
The State of Connecticut and CDC has begun to allow outdoor based activities. Avalonia has made the decision that Town Committees may begin limited group activities as required. Groups must work with socially- distanced protocol and maintain a group size of 5 or fewer individuals. Experienced volunteers will coordinate efforts prior to the day of the activity. We will not be resuming open public stewardship days at this time.  
We have turned to the Professional Trail Builders Association guidelines and will review Connecticut Forest & Park Association guidance as it develops. Based upon these guidelines, stewardship groups should follow the following approaches:

·          Screen crew members at the beginning of each workday. This screening does not need to be documented unless the crew member answers yes to questions 1 through 6 or no to question 7.

1.        Do you have a temperature above 100.4 degrees F.
2.        Do you have any COVID-19 positive members in your household?
3.        Do you have a cough?
4.        Do you have shortness of breath?
5.        Do you have fatigue or muscle aches?
6.        Do you have a new loss of taste or smell?
7.        Do you agree to report the onset of any of these symptoms during your shift?

·          Keep anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms off the work site. Any member experiencing symptoms should be encouraged to stay home in isolation or quarantine (as per CDC recommendations), get tested for the virus (if available), and if positive, follow recommendations.
·          Wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and safety glasses whenever feasible and as required.
·          Do not share equipment, including hand tools, chain saws, mechanized equipment, or work site items such as electronic equipment, PPE, coolers, water containers, etc. Any tool that is shared must be disinfected prior to use.
·          Practice social distancing by keeping 6’ OR MORE away from others. Under a heavy exertion exhale, the potential effective spread of the virus can be greater than 6 feet.
·          Each person should buy, store, and prepare their own meals, drinks, and snacks. Encourage self-sufficiency and discourage borrowing personal items.
·          Request individuals use their own tools or assign tools and equipment to a specific volunteer for the day. This includes hand tools, machines, tool-specific PPE, electronics (iPads, GPS, radios) etc.
·          At the end of each day, each volunteer should be responsible for properly cleaning and returning their tool(s) and equipment to the storage area.

To read more, click HERE .
Announcing the Great Avalonia Trail Trek!

Avalonia is excited to announce that we will be holding our first Great Avalonia Trail Trek in the fall of 2020! The exact dates are TBA, but the Great Avalonia Trail Trek will be a week-long, virtual challenge fundraiser to raise money for the Avalonia Land Conservancy. To participate, people will register, fund raise, and get out on Avalonia’s trails for safe, healthy, and socially distanced activities. Right now, we are actively seeking volunteers for our Steering Committee to help plan this virtual event. Click HERE to read more.
Volunteer Recognition
We continue to count on our volunteers. Following are some examples of true teamwork at a time when we can't work together in large groups. There’s plenty to do, and we hope our volunteers will stay engaged while they wait for a time when we can gather again in work parties, committees and groups.  Click HERE to read about some amazing volunteers. Photo: Kathy Smith
TriTown Volunteers Needed

TriTown Trail Supervisor - Volunteer needed to periodically walk the trails, clearing blow-downs not requiring a chain saw, and disrupting seedlings by hoe or pulling which threaten to encroach on the trail. Other issues encountered will be shared with the team to sort out.

TriTown Off-Trail Supervisor - Volunteer needed to hike designated large tracts to look for any issues including new invasive species. Invasive plants will be pulled or flagged (if too large) for later removal.     Photo: Kelly Allen
Safety First

In early May by a concerned abutter to the Cranberry Pond Preserve reported there were several dangerous trees (blow downs and hangers) on the preserve. Cranberry Pond is small and located within a neighborhood. There are no formal trails, although the locals have created an "informal" trail alongside the pond that has been a quiet place to visit during the recent COVID-19 stay at home period. The blowdowns made use of this trail difficult and dangerous. Although Avalonia does not usually perform tree work in a preserve with no supported trails, we made an exception. Three Avalonia tree team members from Ledyard's stewardship crew safely cleared the worst of the tangled trees and limbs away from the informal trail being used by members of the neighborhood - a task that required a lot of work, but so essential to keep this neighborhood's distancing place safe.   Photo: Neil Duncan
Do You Log Your Hours?

In 2019, the I.R.S. determined the value of a volunteer’s time is $25.43. Last year Avalonia volunteers logged about 10,000 hours. That’s more than $250,000! That’s the good news. We estimate that only half our volunteer time is logged, so we are leaving another $250,000 on the table! Committee chairs and stewardship volunteers. Many of our grants require matching funds and most foundations allow us to match the dollars with volunteer time. Thanks for being here for us, but it's time to catch up, so if you have a moment, click HERE for our activity report forms. Volunteers are worth a million bucks to us! Photo: Sutherland
Yes, We Are Accredited!
It's a big deal and a lot of work, but it's important for you to trust our ability to steward with integrity.

This accreditation seal was awarded to Avalonia Land Conservancy for meeting the highest national standards for excellence and conservation permanence.
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