The foundation for AFC’s land conservation program is grounded in community outreach. We go into the communities surrounding those spaces we intend to conserve to engage neighbors, families, teachers, students and friends. We educate them about the value of their natural open space and ask for their input regarding what we do with each property. We encourage everyone to get involved and provide volunteer opportunities for everything from habitat restoration and docent training to biological surveys and remote wildlife camera trapping. Our goal is to transform vacant land into a community resource to benefit the surrounding community.
We form a “Friends” group to help steward each property and supply them with resources and guidance. Typically, teachers — both active and retired—self-identify and recognize the incredible opportunity of having an outdoor classroom in their community.
The Friends group provides program ideas and outreach to the community while AFC provides the organizational structure and resources the Friends need to both execute programs and effectively manage the property. This method creates sustainability by involving committed, local volunteers and experts to serve on management committees for each preserve.