Tod Sukontarak of West Danby, Tompkins County, NY
What is your volunteer role at the Finger Lakes Land Trust? What kinds of work do you do here?
Originally, my role along with a few others was to annually walk the boundary of the Lindsay Parsons Biodiversity Preserve to help look after things. For some reason, I didn’t get around to that as often as I intended but I have done other things such as help erect the sign at the parking area and the kiosk at the main trail head built by John Smith.
My wife and I have helped with trail maintenance, and garlic mustard pulls and we were involved in the removal of the landfill-like situation that was part of an acquisition some years ago. In the last five or so years I have been responsible for mowing the trails west of the railroad tracks and east of Route 34/96. I have also made trail signage for other FLLT properties.
How long have you been involved as a volunteer?
I don’t know my exact start date, but I’ve been helping with various things at the preserve since we moved here in 2000.
Why do you volunteer?
Volunteering in the preserve is community building. My wife Sarah and I walk our dogs regularly there and many of our neighbors do as well. Others hike, jog, bird watch, etc., and we have had countless, pleasant, chance encounters with neighbors and met many new neighbors for the first time in the preserve.
What’s your favorite FLLT activity and/or preserve? Why?
Over the years I have become friends with some of the staff at the FLLT and very much enjoy their bird walks at our preserve. We especially enjoy the one in May as there are always many knowledgeable folks along to help identify and view the newly arrived spring birds. I guess you could call us bird nerds.
Anything else you want to add?
When we moved here from Maryland, I felt like we left a pretty good place. My volunteer work for the FLLT, specifically on the Lindsay Parson Biodiversity Preserve, has really helped to ground me in this place. Whether hiking, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, walking the dogs, mowing the trails, critter watching, deer hunting or just sitting and gazing, our activities cover the seasons and every season, every year, has something beautiful to appreciate and admire. I wouldn’t want to live anyplace else.