Ipswich Resident Kristina Brendel Gives Back and Reaps Many Personal Rewards by Volunteering with The Trustees of Reservations
One of the largest non-profits in Massachusetts, and the nation’s oldest statewide land conservation organization, The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) depends on thousands of hours of volunteer time each year to help run and manage its 106 reservations for public use and enjoyment – one of which is the beloved Crane Estate in Ipswich. Last year, generous volunteers donated nearly 60,000 hours of their time to The Trustees, up from 50,000 hours the year before.
One of those devoted and enthusiastic volunteers is Ipswich resident Kristina Brendel, who has volunteered at many Crane Estate events since moving back to Ipswich two years ago. At various times, including the Annual Crane Estate Art Show, Holiday and spring Open Houses, she has worked as a greeter, giving directions to visitors, talking to them about the estate and pointing out its important features. “We do a lot of talking and giving directions,” she says with a smile. She adds that she was coming to the Crane Estate so often, being a volunteer saved on costs and provided even more of a connection with the property. “It’s really about a connection to the house,” she says. “There’s a real sense of belonging, you feel like you’re taking care of it.” That sense of belonging also comes with being a Trustees volunteer. “The Trustees treat the volunteers like royalty. There is no pressure…we are acknowledged and thanked…we are very much a part of the team.”
Kristina is often joined at the Crane Estate by her nine year old daughter, Lydia, a fourth grader at Doyon School in Ipswich and the recipient of the Youngest Volunteer Award at The Trustees’ recent volunteer appreciation event. A self-proclaimed “real nature girl” who likes to catch bugs and wants to be a marine biologist, she enjoys working with The Trustees and their staff, saying, “I really love all the people here. They are kind and I like how they treat me, not just as a little kid. They give me real jobs.”
Kristina and Lydia are two of twelve volunteers who will be helping out at The Trustees upcoming Choate Island Day event. On Sunday, October 9th, The Trustees will provide boat transportation to the beautiful, pristine Choate Island located in Essex Bay from 10am to 3pm. Crane Estate staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer the public’s island questions, lead walks along its many grassy footpaths, and give tours of its unique historic structures.
To join Kristina, Lydia, the other Trustees volunteers and staff at Choate Island Day, pre-registration at www.thetrustees.org is suggested. Keyword: Choate Island Day. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children; Trustees members $10 adults and $5 children. Visit the website at www.thetrustees.org or call 978.356.4351 for more information.
More about Crane Wildlife Refuge on the Crane Estate
Along with Castle Hill and Crane Beach, the Crane Wildlife Refuge was once part of the vast early 20th century summer estate ofChicago industrialist Richard T. Crane, Jr. The Refuge is a patchwork of coastal and island habitats that includes a portion of Castle Neck and seven islands in the Essex River Estuary. Surrounding the Crane Wildlife Refuge is the Great Marsh, the largest contiguous salt marsh in New England, covering more than 25,000 acres from Hampton Harbor, NH, to Gloucester. The Refuge was established in 1974 as a gift of Miné S. Crane in memory of her husband, Cornelius Crane; both are buried at the summit of Choate Island. The largest of the Refuge's islands, the 135-acre Choate Island (formerly Hog Island) supports myriad birds and mammals including deer, fisher, coyote, and otter. The spruce forest planted in the early 20th century attracts golden crown kinglets and sharp-shinned hawks, while Choate Island's grasslands provide critical habitat for bobolinks and Savannah sparrows. Gulls, sanderlings, and sandpipers feed along the Island's shore. Well before the arrival of European settlers, the Agawam tribe of Native Americans established semi-permanent agricultural villages here, harvesting shellfish in and around the islands in the warmer months. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Choate Island and Long Island, connected by a causeway, comprised a prosperous farming community.
More about The Trustees of Reservations
The Trustees of Reservations is the nation’s oldest, statewide land conservation organization founded by open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891 to “hold in trust,” and care for properties of scenic, cultural and natural significance. Supported by members, donors and thousands of volunteers, The Trustees own and manage 105 spectacular “reservations” located on more than 26,000 acres in 75 communities throughout Massachusetts. The Trustees work to promote healthy, active, green communities locally and around the state by providing hundreds of year-round programs, events and engagement opportunities for all ages. Most property entry fees, programs and events are free-of-charge or heavily discounted for members. Accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, The Trustees are an established leader in the conservation movement and model for other land trusts nationally and internationally. To find out more about membership, volunteer, job and other engagement opportunities with The Trustees visit http://www.thetrustees.org.