The Rockefeller State Park Preserve has never been more popular, its wide-open spaces offering fresh air and freedom during Covid’s constrictions.
But the preserve, with over 60 miles of carriage roads to monitor, and no full-time patrol staff, has been in need of help to maintain the space. So, last year, the Rockefeller Guardians volunteer program was established, and now there is a team of dedicated, informed Guardians patrolling assigned zones once a week.
Each Guardian knows the Preserve’s zones and trails inside and out. Dressed in a uniform including a reflective vest, hat, whistle and bag, they look for issues such as downed trees, damage, flooding, etc., and report all in their weekly email reports (including images). Because they are easily identifiable in their uniforms, Guardians are frequently asked for help by lost hikers and always carry spare maps. Guardians are also provided with garbage grabbers, bags, and gloves, to pick up trash and downed signs. They are committed to keeping their assigned zones pristine.
The program has been so successful that there’s now a waiting list of people wanting to join. Each applicant is interviewed carefully, given that the Guardians are the face of the Preserve. The Guardians group is a diverse gathering, including spouse teams, mother/daughters, lots of furry partners and, because this is Rockefeller after all, of course a mounted Guardian!