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Greenwich Land Trust internship. by Joe Zippelli

December 22, 2021

During the summer of 2021, I was given the opportunity to intern at the Greenwich Land Trust located near the Purchase area in the town of Greenwich, Connecticut. The Greenwich Land Trust is a non-profit organization that primarily deals with the management and care of the donations of land which they are given. Greenwich Land Trust permanently protects and cares for more than 848 acres of woodlands, marshlands, orchards, and meadows throughout Greenwich, working to preserve the ecological integrity, historic character, of the area. During my time spent with the Land trust, I was able to work in person and hands on with a variety of the daily goings on of a functioning land trust.

During my first few days as an intern at the Greenwich Land Trust, I spent most of my time at their main property to get a feel for how the office ran. In addition to the interior office, I also got an introduction to the operations and management of the organic garden and meadow at this property location. Although it was only a small fraction of the total 848 acres under their protection, there was a lot that went into its upkeep–such as the work that needed to be done in the organic garden and tending to the different crops. I would weed the crop beds, mow sections of grass between rows and assist the head gardener with the waterings and feedings of the diverse garden. When it came to the work in the meadow section of the property, the focus primarily was the control of invasive species of plants and the protection of the native plant life. Invasive control could range from the pulling of Invasive plants or in the cases of Japanese knotweed and porcelain berry, where we would have to untangle them from the native plants. Because the Japanese knotweed and porcelain berry grow on or entangle other plants, they compete for sunlight and shade the native plants which puts them at risk for survival.

As my time at the land trust went on, we moved onto working on some projects located at some of the bigger properties under the land trusts protection. In some instances, it was to us to check up on the boundaries and make sure that there were no issues of encroachment onto any of the fee/easement lands. We also were responsible for handling small repairs on existing structures on the plots. But I was given the joy and opportunity to assist with one of the larger projects at their Converse Brook property that would be the new location for a hiking/and riding trail. Being an avid hiker, it was very interesting and humbling just to see, not only how much physical work goes into trail building, but also the intensive planning on the design side of the project. Over the course of several weeks, not only would I assist in the cutting and clearing of trees, the leveling and grading of the new trails, but then I was also given the opportunity to aid in the design and construction of a 25ft walking bridge for a section of trail that would span over a stream.

Overall, I would have to say that my time spent at the Greenwich Land Trust was an immensely enjoyable and educational experience, it has helped give me a greater understanding and appreciation for the variety of work there is to be done under the umbrella of Environmental Sciences. Being that I have been someone who has had an affinity for the outdoors and hands on work, the opportunity and position that the Greenwich Land Trust gave me an interest into a field of work I had previously known little about but have learned to appreciate and would wish to pursue one day.