COLORADO SPRINGS — With warmer weather rolling in, the Rocky Mountain Field Institute is back out and about, working with volunteers and partner agencies in their ongoing mission of caring for our public lands.
During their first workdays of the 2022 season during the second weekend of April, RMFI reported an amazing turnout of volunteers eager to get back out and work in our local recreational spaces.
One of the hopes for this current season is to get back to the high levels of community engagement that the organization saw before the past couple of years.
"We were still able to do some volunteer days during 2020 and had a handful of days throughout 2021, just not as much as we've had in the past [when] we were able to engage thousands of volunteers," stated Calla Balliett, volunteer and partnership coordinator for RMFI, "in the past couple of years, we've been down to the hundreds, so we're hoping to get back to those thousands."
According to Balliett, the community stewardship days planned just for the month of April are already on track to bring in more volunteers then RMFI was able to engage during all of 2020.
"We've just had an outpouring of love from the community who have wanted to come out and join RMFI and be a part of that restoration and maintenance of our trails and open spaces."
The season kickoff days for RMFI (both March 9th and 10th) had volunteers closing and restoring social trails that had cropped up in both Red Rock Canyon Open Space and Ute Valley Park.
Social trails are informal trails that crop up due to people wandering off the maintained primary trails in an area. Closing and restoring these trails is a process that involves "decompacting hardened soil, reseeding native grasses and transplanting native species," before covering it with brush to close it down. This process is important to prevent degradation of public lands and local plant and wildlife habitats.
RMFI is stacking its calendar full of volunteer opportunities, with several more planned for the rest of April.
If you are interested in learning more about RMFI or getting involved in their ongoing mission of stewardship, you can visit them HERE.