Student volunteers from Bromfield have been working outdoors all Summer on protected lands across Harvard: clearing new trails and making sure that existing trails are well marked and safe for hikers and wildlife. It’s all part of a new collaboration between The Harvard Conservation Trust and the Bromfield School, who have worked together to create an alternative learning experience off school grounds. As part of Bromfield’s commitment to encouraging active citizenship and volunteerism, students must complete 40 hours of community service in order to graduate. Through the HCT collaboration, Students can be of service to their community and learn about the natural habitats here in Harvard at the same time.
The Trust has helped acquire or protect more than 850 acres of land in Harvard, and trails have seen more use during the COVID pandemic than ever before. Rising Senior Marley Ferguson says, “I was born and raised in Harvard. In my teenage years, I began to run long distance and started exploring more trails. Sometimes I’m disappointed by what I find on the trails I love…I’ve spent time with my friends picking up other people’s garbage.” Students are acting as trail managers, invasive species strike teams, and new trailblazers. Supervisors for student-teams – volunteers themselves – share their knowledge about the plants, wildlife, wetlands, orchards, even the old stone walls that make Harvard’s natural landscape unique. If the first group of students is any indication, they are passionate about leaving a natural legacy here in Harvard. As one student Jake Morine sums it, “I’ve been on these trails behind my house my whole life. It feels great to learn how to care for them. And it’s great to see so many people using them!”
Want to explore some new trails in Harvard? Check out this great map index.
Photos: (1) Dallas Briggs-Adams clearing old wire fencing from the Burgess-Brown trail and (2) Max Strazdus, Supervisor David Burney and Olivier Bradley clearing a new trail