It’s impossible to overstate the importance of our volunteers to the work we do here at the Conservancy. While we benefit immeasurably from the time our volunteers spend with us, our volunteers reap benefits as well. Sarah Gotwols Moran, a dedicated Volunteer Land Steward (and experienced ornithologist!) recently spoke to us about not only what her role as Volunteer Land Steward does for the Conservancy, but also for the community and for herself!
What inspires you to spend your time volunteering for the Conservancy?
I am inspired by being a part of and educating the public on the importance of preserving our local wild spaces. I also love to share the beauty of all the natural biodiversity that can thrive in a preserved area just beyond your backdoor.
What do you do as a volunteer for the Conservancy?
As a Volunteer Land Steward, I help to educate the public on the Conservancy’s efforts in land preservation. I also educate visitors on topics such as trail safety and Leave No Trace principles and assist with programs that help bring our visitors to a deeper appreciation of our preserves and local wildlife. Additionally, I participate in workdays and other events to help maintain the health of the Conservancy preserves. Serving as a volunteer has given me hope that we are protecting our natural lands and wildlife while also inspiring future generations on the importance of conservation.
What is your favorite nature preserve to volunteer at and why?
There’s no way for me to choose! Each preserve has its own unique natural wonders to explore! From the iconic wildflowers at Shenks Ferry to the deep biodiversity of Kellys Run or the Falmouth Forest Garden, there is always something new to be inspired by at any of the Lancaster Conservancy preserves. Birds, mammals, amphibians, a variety of plant life and fungi, aquatic species and more await discovery, and I’m proud to be a part of the preservation of each habitat.
Can you tell us about an experience you had while volunteering that stands out to you?
Recent efforts at Wizard Ranch are the first to come to mind. It’s incredible what one small group of dedicated volunteers can accomplish – instantly transforming an otherwise forgotten landscape into a space that visitors can explore, appreciate, and enjoy. Being a part of the creation of a new preserve for future generations is by far my most personally rewarding experience to date.
What’s one thing you wish people knew about volunteering for the Conservancy?
The best part of volunteering is meeting new people! The knowledgeable Conservancy staff and my fellow volunteers collaborate to achieve similar goals — preserve the land, educate the public and strengthen conservation awareness. It’s a wonderful opportunity to forge new and meaningful relationships in a supportive, nature-based setting, where we work hard and have a great time in the process!