Volunteer Land Steward
Volunteer Land Steward
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Work Parties | Field Fridays | Become a Volunteer Land Steward | Other Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Land Stewards

Volunteer Land Steward Training

Interested in becoming a Volunteer Land Steward? Whatcom Land Trust hosts a VLS training sessions once a year! Our next Volunteer Land Steward Training session will be February 3rd, 2024 from 10am – 12pm in-person. There will be a virtual option available if you are unable to attend in person. If you are interested in signing up to learn more about this program or to become a Volunteer Land Steward yourself, register here.

Our Most Precious Resources

The reason we are able to protect the more than 6,000 acres of land we own and manage is due to our dedicated corps of volunteers and donors. Our Volunteer Land Steward Program is just one of several ways to volunteer, but also one of the most impactful ways. In 2019, almost 90 trained Volunteer Land Stewards spent more than 1,800 hours monitoring Whatcom Land Trust properties around the county and reporting to our stewardship staff. Many of these same volunteers additionally participated at our Work Party and Field Friday events to accomplish habitat restoration and other management activities. Without these passionate and truly inspirational members of our community, the quality of stewardship on our lands would not be the same. We couldn’t be more fortunate to work with such a precious resource.

What does a Volunteer Land Steward do?

Whatcom Land Trust has many properties to manage around the county and our stewardship staff can only be in so many places at once. We cannot possibly manage them all without the help of our Volunteer Land Stewards! A Volunteer Land Steward will “adopt-a-property” and monitor on a regular basis; acting as the eyes and the ears of the Land Trust. You will submit a report once every three months, which will include notable plants and animals seen, amount and type of human traffic, and any potential issues that need a staff intervention before it worsens. You are not required to participate in habitat restoration or trail maintenance, though it is always greatly appreciated by our staff and the land! If you are interested and there is a need, it is possible for you to lead a small volunteer work party with some guidance by our stewardship staff. Sometimes there is more than one Volunteer Land Steward per property, but it is up to you if you would like to partner with others or visit the property by yourself and/or with family. If you want to see other Land Trust protected properties around the county, you can also reach out to other Volunteer Land Stewards and ask to join them. Being a Volunteer Land Steward is a great way to connect with nature and see a property you might not otherwise have seen. 

What is the Time Commitment of a Volunteer Land Steward?

As it is important for you to get to know your property and see the seasonal changes, we ask for a minimum commitment of two years. Additionally, we ask that you monitor your property AT LEAST once every three months, though you are more than welcome to visit the property weekly. If you are lucky to have the opportunity to take a 3-month vacation, no problem! Just let us know. Your visits do not need to be scheduled in advance and you can spend as many daylight hours on the land that you would like. This is the most flexible way to volunteer with us by choosing to monitor whenever works best for YOU. At the end of each quarter, you will be asked to fill out a simple one-page report to let us know what you saw and/or accomplished on the property you steward

How do you Become a Volunteer Land Steward?

To become a Volunteer Land Steward, you will need to attend a two-hour training by our stewardship staff. This training will provide you with a background of the organization, our stewardship program, and how to effectively be a Volunteer Land Steward. At the end of the training, you will have the opportunity to commit by filling out a property placement questionnaire so we can determine the property that best suits you. Within the following few weeks, staff will schedule a time to take you on your first site visit and show you around. From there, it’s all up to you when you want to go back! 

Liability Waivers
Liability waivers need to be filled out prior to volunteering with Whatcom Land Trust. The liability waiver is good for the remainder of the calendar year (January – December), and a new one will need to be filled out each year after. Both electronic copies and printed copies will be accepted. 
If you are 17 years of age or older, simply fill out the adult liability waiver below. 
Adult Liability Form
Minor Liability Form
How to fill out these forms if a volunteer is under 17 years old: 
– If the volunteer is under 13, a parent will need to sign both the adult liability form and the minor addendum form. 
– If the volunteer is between 13 and 17 years of age, the teenager will sign the adult liability waiver, and a parent will need to sign the minor addendum form.

Make a long-term commitment to Whatcom Land Trust by becoming a Volunteer Land Steward. Trainings are held at least annually, more frequently if increased interest. 

The next Volunteer Land Steward training will be held in the fall. Please email our Volunteer Coordinator, Madeline Mahler, Madeline@whatcomlandtrust.org if you are interested in attending.

Find out what other Volunteer Land Stewards are saying about the many benefits volunteering provides for them.

See what some of our Land Stewards say about their experiences.
Janet Murray talks about stewardship, her experience as a Volunteer Land Steward at the Kelsey property and her commitment to the Whatcom Land Trust.
Hank Kastner talks about what it means to be a Volunteer Land Steward at Edfro Creek and the Fenton Reserve.
Dave and Sue Sharpe talk about being a Volunteer Land Steward for the Canyon Creek property at Glacier Springs.
Mark Wheatley talks about what being a Volunteer Land Steward with Whatcom Land Trust and what this means to him and about the property he manages. He discusses his views on community, and the benefits volunteering provides.
Ron and Ava discuss being out in nature and the community benefits.