Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Marsh beach and water  at Long Pasture
Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary, Barnstable © Hong Ren Wang

Long Pasture Property Volunteers Prove Many Hands Make Less Work

July 18, 2023

Long Pasture property manager Chris Walz says what started out as just a handful of volunteers is now a dedicated force of 13 who do everything from cleaning buildings to mowing, trail clearing, and woodworking. He estimates that the crew can save him half the time it takes to accomplish various tasks at Long Pasture as well as its three other properties on the Mid and Upper Cape.

Chris says some volunteers have been with him for well over ten years. They’ve developed a camaraderie that includes a lot of ribbing, some “dad jokes”, and—on Fridays—delicious baked goods thanks to a team member’s wife, an accomplished cook.

The volunteers are divided into two shifts—Wednesdays and Fridays. Chris notes having two teams makes it easier to interact with everyone.  “When you have a large volunteer group, you can get some people with the same first names,” Chris notes.  “I have two Stans, two Ricks, and two Johns. Fortunately, they come on separate days so that helps!”

A group photo of the volunteer crew

Recent Projects

One of the team’s most recent projects was building eight beautiful new tables and sixteen benches for use inside the recently opened Outdoor Teaching Pavilion. “Twelve volunteers worked a combined 162 total hours on the project,” Chris notes. The talented crew also worked on a recent upgrade of Long Pasture’s Nature Play Area.

Newly installed picnic tables under an awning


As a show of appreciation of his volunteers, Chris holds an annual gathering in April known simply as “the burn pile”, an opportunity each spring to safely burn brush and other woody debris the team has cleared for a bonfire. The gathering has become popular, with other volunteers and staff occasionally joining in. Chris provides beef, chicken, and veggies so everyone can cook their own “foil dinner” on a grill while they relax and enjoy the warmth of the fire. Chris says he’s kept photos of every year’s gathering (an image from the 2023 gathering can be seen above). It’s a nod to his team’s weekly commitment to help him with a range of necessary sanctuary chores—some of them special projects, some more routine, all of them time-consuming. “I figure our property volunteers put in the equivalent of a 30-hour a week, full-time staff member,” Chris says.

If you’re interested in joining Chris' volunteer property crew at Long Pasture, please email or call the sanctuary at 508-362-7475.