Volunteers are the backbone of the Land Trust. We are extremely fortunate many dedicated volunteers bring their energy and talents to ensure the protection and appreciation of Bloomfield’s natural resources. The all-volunteer Board of Directors oversees committees where the work is done. From land acquisition and membership to property management and stewardship, volunteers handle every aspect of the Land Trust’s operations.
If there is not a volunteer to do a task, the task does not get done. And there is much to do! It’s very rewarding to be part of saving our natural resources and protecting our environment for future generations. It’s also easy to get started: contact us or check the volunteer box on the printable mail-in membership/volunteer form.
Paula and Kevin met in graduate school in Indiana and moved to Connecticut for jobs as actuaries in the insurance industry. They share a passion for the outdoors as hikers and cyclists, and were early supporters of community supported agriculture and a strong local food system.
They connected with Wintonbury Land Trust while serving as appointed members of the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic Study Committee. The Committee was surveying local land trusts seeking support for its work, and Paula and Kevin were delighted to discover Bloomfield had one!
They quickly became vital volunteers. Paula was Secretary for three years, Treasurer for five, and now is Vice President and Interim Treasurer. Kevin served on the Finance and Acquisition committees. Both put their skills to use as stewards of Thrall Farm, writing grants, and developing an evaluation form for prospective properties. They support educational events and have been key in developing our popular community outreach hikes. You’ll see them leading groups on Trails Day, for UConn’s Adult Learning Program, and in partnership with Simsbury Land Trust.
It’s clear sharing with others the beauty they’ve helped preserve gives back to them almost as much as they’ve given to the Land Trust. They’re aware the Land Trust – like most volunteer organizations – has a core group that does much of the heavy lifting. So they encourage anyone who might have a little time to help at stewardship work parties that maintain the trails and properties they’ve worked so hard to preserve. Please contact us if that’s you!
Ron Pitz has participated in the maintenance of WLT properties both as a landscape contractor and as a volunteer for many years. He is responsible for mowing several fields under our stewardship, primarily Hawk Hill Farm and the Evans property. Ron will lead a volunteer work party to help remove invasive plants such as Oriental Bittersweet that are overtaking trees at Hawk Hill Farm, and earlier this summer started removing invasive plants such as Canada thistle before it went to seed at Hawk Hill and the Stout Family Fields.
He is a Master Gardener and Master Wildlife Conservationist certified through CT DEEP. Ron has many years of horticultural and business experience as a self-employed landscape contractor and studied at the University of Connecticut and Albertus Magnus College. His passion for land preservation also is deeply rooted in Bloomfield. He learned about landscaping from his grandfather, personal gardener to Curtis Veeder at his home (now the Connecticut Historical Society) and summer home (now Penwood State Park). Ron also accompanied his grandfather as he worked the family farm, now known as Lisa Lane Farm, and was instrumental in ensuring this property became a treasured WLT property in 2012.
After working as a professional musician, Ron returned to the Farmington Valley where he and his family started a landscaping company. Ron later found his way to the Knox Foundation and eventually became the Executive Director, a position he retired from in May of this year. Ron was involved in many creative welfare-to-work programs and started an urban farming program. The Knox Community Gardens and related programs provided Hartford with tons of fresh produce. Knox Urban Farmers sold produce to Hartford schools that made its way to school cafeterias throughout the city. Trainees in the Green Jobs Training Program planted, placed and maintained over 1,000 planters throughout Hartford. Trees for Hartford Neighborhoods, a partnership with the City of Hartford Forester, organized neighborhood block parties and volunteers to help plant 15,000 trees!
When asked what volunteering for WLT means to him, Ron stated that he feels part of a legacy that will affect future generations through the preservation of precious open space. And even more fundamentally, as he watches the pollinators thrive on the preserved land, he knows that he is contributing to their survival (and ultimately to life on earth). He schedules his mowing or avoids mowing altogether in sensitive areas to protect pollinators and has educated landowners adjacent to WLT properties to do the same.
More volunteer work days are in Ron’s – and hopefully your – future. Invasive plants never rest and after spending time with Ron, I don’t think he does either! The WLT is fortunate to have Ron as a steward of its properties. Thank you!