Caring for a Sanctuary: Meet Trevor Chalmers
What do you do as the sanctuary's Property Manager?
I am responsible for the upkeep, sustainability, and aesthetics of the buildings, vehicles, trails, and fields at Arcadia. I do everything from fixing jammed staplers to renovating the Observation Tower on the Fern Trail.
To green our buildings and reduce their carbon footprint, I’ve worked to improve insulation and take advantage of the electricity from our solar panels by installing heat pumps for efficient electric heating and cooling as well as a heat recovery ventilation system in our schoolhouse, for example. Currently, I’m exploring the use of air to water heat pumps, as I am always looking for ways we can improve our practices but also lead by example.
Work on-site at Arcadia keeps me busy, but I also oversee the caretaker at Laughing Brook in Hampden and help out in emergencies across the Western region, such as when the micro-burst downed trees over Pleasant Valley’s entryway, boardwalk, and trails.
What's one of your favorite parts of the job?
Most of my work is focused on the physical aspects of Arcadia and because I am out and about across the sanctuary, I find myself interacting with all different kinds of people from volunteers to preschoolers and their families, to visitors out for a hike. I really enjoy this aspect of the job because it’s important to me to connect folks to nature.
Do you have a favorite Mass Audubon trail?
Arcadia’s Horseshoe Trail in the summer because it's like walking through a tunnel of green.
What brought you to Arcadia & Connecticut River Valley?
I grew up in the Berkshires, studied architecture and geoscience in the Finger Lakes Region of New York, and received my master’s in architecture from Kansas University. From there, I moved to the Boston area. After living there for many years and meeting my partner, Jessye, I wanted to get away from the city and move to a place that reflected my ideals. Easthampton gave me access to nature, art, locally sourced food and great breweries.
When I arrived in Easthampton, I was originally going to start my own brewery but that didn’t pan out. However, I ended up starting my own business turning wooden bowls but needed supplemental income. An assistant property manager position opened up at Arcadia, which utilized my skills and allowed me to be outdoors. When Steven Walker retired as Property Manager a few years later, I applied and happily received the position. I truly believe in our mission and I couldn’t ask for better staff to work alongside.
If you could be any animal or bird, what would you be?
I think I’d like to be an owl. I’ve always wanted to fly...and how cool would that be to do it silently?
Who is your personal nature hero?
My son Grey, who is 5. Jessye and I are raising him with an awareness of nature and sustainability. I like saying that he was our youngest volunteer because he has been helping me at Arcadia since he was 2.