Youth Conservation Corps created

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Granby Land Trust Youth Conservation Corps volunteers, (l to r): Charlie Attianese, Mason Levy, TJ May, Zach Orluk, Chas Orluk, Tyler Kroninger, Carter Frith, Noah Kroninger, Brayden Milbrandt, and Sean Dowd. Not pictured: Colby Milbrandt and Elliot Plourde.

With time on his hands due to the Coronavirus lockdown, high school senior Zach Orluk and his friends started going for hikes in McLean Game Refuge and on Granby Land Trust properties. It was a great way to break up the boredom of days at home, distanced from friends. The kids were happy to get away from their parents; and their parents were happy to see them spending time outside.

When the GLT started looking for volunteers to assist with the work it would take to get the Dismal Brook Wildlife Preserve ready for its opening, Zach asked some friends to come help. Ten high school students showed up that first Saturday morning. Every few weeks, Zach would organize another work party. It was the start of the Granby Land Trust Youth Conservation Corps (GLT YCC).

To date, the group has volunteered more than 80 work hours at the Dismal Brook Wildlife Preserve. Under the guidance of a GLT board member, they cleared blowdowns, chopped and stacked wood, cleaned out the pond’s sluiceway, dug a gutter along one trail to reduce erosion, removed invasive plants and widened trails.

They work hard for a few hours on Saturday mornings. The reward? Community service hours, time spent with friends in a beautiful place, the acquisition of new experiences and new skills, the knowledge that you worked hard and accomplished a good thing, and, sometimes, apple cider donuts.

If you are a high school student who is interested in joining the GLT YCC, please email the GLT at and we will put you in touch with Zach. When not working on property maintenance, the group will offer socially distanced hikes for its members. Watch our website for scheduled work parties and hikes this winter and next spring.