Winnakee Land Trust

Involving volunteers in active stewardship of our properties and maintaining regional ecosystems

Special MLK Weekend of Service

By Jen Adams, Assistant Director of Stewardship

Our new Second Saturdays Stewardship volunteer program has been a huge success. Since its launch in September, over 80 volunteer hours have contributed to land management improvements. Our volunteers have braved the cold, thorns, and mud to remove invasive plants, fix fences, remove trees across trails, and prepare Burger Hill for winter sledding.

We are kicking off 2024 with volunteer opportunities to participate in our Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend of Service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and the day that recognizes him. This 3-day Weekend of Service was created in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr’s quote:

“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve…. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

 At Winnakee, we strongly value connecting the community to nature in a hands-on way that improves community resources for everyone. We encourage you to get involved that weekend, whether it is improving natural spaces with Winnakee or on another service project that benefits the entire community or those most in need.

Our Weekend of Service will take place at Vlei Marsh (weather and conditions dependent). Vlei Marsh has become a beloved hidden gem of a preserve in Rhinebeck. We’ll be hosting a 3-day volunteer event to work on projects at Vlei Marsh.

We hope to bring more community awareness to the amazing hiking trails, views, art pieces, and gathering space that the preserve provides while also preparing the preserve for upcoming projects this spring and summer.

The fenced-in garden space needs revitalization so it can grow pollinator friendly plants, vegetables, and herbs. Winnakee also plans to create a demonstration area to show different techniques for creating a native meadow in your own backyard. This space needs to be measured, flagged, and prepped for spring activities. Invasive species are quickly invading our forests and need to be removed to prevent further spread within our preserve and to our neighbors’ properties.

Lastly, our bridge crossing Fallsburg Creek washed away in the recent floods and needs to be moved back into place so we can reopen the trail to the community. Your volunteer work on these projects will help improve the preserve and create educational opportunities for the community.

Stewart’s Shops in Red Hook is generously donating for snacks and beverages. Please remember to dress warmly with clothing you don’t mind getting a little dirty. Winnakee will provide all of the tools and work gloves you may need.

Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend of Service at Vlei Marsh schedule is as follows:
Saturday January 13th, 10am-12pm: Remove old vegetation and soil from garden beds, repair frames
Sunday January 14th, 10am-12pm: Prep area for native meadow restoration project—measuring and flagging plots, removing debris, removing vegetation
Monday January 15th, 10am-12pm: Invasive wineberry and bittersweet removals


We have additional volunteer opportunities planned for this winter and spring. Second Saturdays will continue through the winter, with projects at Vlei Marsh, Dutchess Gables, and Burger Hill. Winnakee will also be starting a trail construction project to extend our Saw Kill Trail. We will need volunteers to help build the trail, install fencing, and construct bridges and walkways during weekly volunteer events at the preserve. Please stay tuned for specific dates and times for our Saw Kill Volunteer Crew or sign up now for these alerts.

Join the Saw Kill Trail Expansion Volunteer Crew this spring
and help us build bridges and trails connecting community!

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