Erik Boyer, Property Manager at Wildlands Trust, successfully completed the 3-day Training Workshop for the Keystone Project, held at the Harvard Forest in Petersham, NH this spring.
In ecology, a keystone species is one whose impacts on its environment are larger and greater than would be expected from one species. The Keystone Project invests education and reference materials in important, keystone people making a large impact at their local level. The training covers subjects such as forest ecology and management, wildlife management, land protection, and community outreach. In exchange for the training and take-home resources, graduates of the program, called Cooperators, agree to return to their communities and volunteer at least 30-hours of their time towards projects that promote forest and wildlife conservation.
The Keystone Project is designed to stimulate forest landowners and community opinion leaders to be advocates of sound forest conservation, and to help inform the land management and conservation decisions of their friends, neighbors, organizations, and communities. Keystone Cooperators can be very effective in doing this, since they are well-connected community leaders. Other past Cooperator projects have included permanently conserving their own land, initiating a forest landowner cooperative, promoting management on municipal and conservation lands, writing newspaper articles, hosting educational events, and improving their own properties for wildlife, recreation, and timber.
More than three-fourths of all woodland in Massachusetts is owned by thousands of private families and individuals. Much of this land is at risk of conversion to developed uses. It is important to reach woodland owners as well as communities and land trusts with information on the care of their land. Keystone training is designed to provide Cooperators with skills and information to better engage in this important activity at the local level.
The Keystone Project is organized by the University of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Conservation and UMass Extension, with support from the Harvard Forest, MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, the MA DCR Service Forestry Program, and the Leo S. Walsh Foundation.
For more information on forest conservation or Keystone, contact:
Erik Boyer at 774-343-5121 x106 or firstname.lastname@example.org