Volunteering at the Lloyd Center – and the rewards that come with it!

Volunteers from UMass DartmouthOn Thursday, March 21, fourteen University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth students opted for an ‘alternative spring break’ and volunteered their time to help clear a new trail system through the Lloyd Center for the Environment’s recently acquired Lloyd Woods, a beautiful 27-acre parcel of land that lies directly across the road from the Center’s headquarters and spectacular nature preserve overlooking the scenic Slocum River estuary in South Dartmouth.

The trail that the students worked on had been laid out in such a way as to avoid trees larger than saplings, thus follow a naturalistic meander through a woodland that is quite distinct from the Lloyd Center’s established trails on the west side of Potomska Road. Armed with loppers, the group enthusiastically trimmed back and removed brush as they made their way through the woods to Little River. When the day came to an end, the students overwhelmingly commented on the experiences.

“It was great giving back to the community as students at UMass Dartmouth, because we don’t usually get to do that, especially for a place that’s free to visit. If people don’t know about the Lloyd Center, they should.” – Rodney Chanax

“I seriously felt like we made a difference today… it’s very rare that we get a chance to be in nature like that while at school. I don’t mean this in a spiritual way, but we don’t get to feel one with nature in our day-to-day lives. We’re constantly bombarded with i-pods, computers…” – Marvin Hyppolit

“I enjoyed looking back at our progress, because we really made a lot. I can’t remember the last time I was outside in nature like that.” – India Bowman

Check out the photo gallery at the bottom of this article

Volunteering can be a very engaging and rewarding experience, as one can imagine from the comments made by the UMass students who so freely gave their time to work on the Lloyd Center’s new nature trail. The Lloyd Center would like to have a “grand opening” of this trail in April which when completed will offer spectacular panoramic views of Little River.

“It was really nice to get out to a new place in the community that I haven’t been to before, and felt like I actually made a difference there.” – Chris Jordan

If trail clearing isn’t your cup of tea, the Lloyd Center for the Environment has many other volunteer opportunities available and in honor of National Volunteer Month, the Center is seeking volunteers for Saturday, April 13th (rain date Sunday, April 14th) as they cut, clear, turn soil and completely change the area behind their Visitor Center to a butterfly haven. Additional clearing and planting has also been scheduled for Saturday, April 27th (rain date Sunday, April 28th), thanks to a $300 grant the Center received from the New Bedford Garden Club.

Other volunteer opportunities available at the Lloyd Center include: butterfly garden upkeep; research opportunities in collections, Piping Plover protection, dragonfly/butterfly monitoring and SEANET; assisting in canoe and kayak trips, Monarch Watch or Coastal Field Studies; grant writing; historical archiving; data entry; and in community outreach at the Center’s clambake and Slocum Challenge Regatta.

“I am an international student here and this is the best thing I have done so far in the United States.” – Nikita Rao

Much of the success at the Lloyd Center for the Environment can be attributed to the volunteers who so cheerfully and generously give their time and energy. For more information on how you can become a part of this inspiring group, contact Lloyd Center Outreach Specialist Jen Wimmer at 508-990-0505 x 14 or jen@lloydcenter.org.