StewardMRV kicks off for the season with every recreation and swim hole site already assigned a volunteer to monitor and steward it for the season.
This year’s efforts got underway last Saturday, June 4, with the targeted clean up of several sites followed by a barbeque at Couples Club field in Waitsfield.
The stewardMRV program was started last year and is dedicated to creating an ethos of stewardship across the Mad River Valley.
"Whether it’s at a trailhead, down by the river, on a back road, or in your backyard, there are ways for each of us to be a steward in this community. StewardMRV supports the diversity of stewardship activities in The Valley by bringing people and organizations together to celebrate and share opportunities to volunteer," said Eric Friedman, executive director of the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce, one of the stewardMRV founding organizations.
NATIONAL TRAILS DAY
Last Saturday’s kick-off event coincided with National Trails Day and 20-some community members participated along with members of the various organizations that collaborate in stewardMRV.
Friedman said that this year’s stewardMRV coordinator is Tom Spencer, Warren. Last year, stewardMRV worked with a college intern, but Friedman said he was unable to find one for this summer and said he was thrilled when Spencer approached him after reading an article about the VOREC grant in The Valley Reporter.
Last summer, Spencer was a steward of Warren Falls and said he loved it.
“I personally saw the difference in the time I was there in how things started to change. Once it was clean, people began to leave it clean,” he said.
PROGRAM HAS GROWN
Spencer said he was happy that the program has grown since its first year and said he looks forward to growing it further, building synergies within the various partners to stewardMRV. Those partners include the chamber of commerce, Friends of the Mad River, the Mad River Path, Mad River Riders and other members of the Mad River Trails Collaborative.
“I hope the enthusiasm continues to grow. This year we have five returning stewards and have 11 new stewards. They are from all over the place and range from people like Mike Ware who’s been here over 40 years to people who are brand new to The Valley,” he said.
He used Green Up Day as a way to find and recruit most of this year’s new stewards.
“I asked them if they were familiar with the stewardMRV program and most of them said they were aware and meant to reach out. I was able to sign up a bunch of them and also some of the schools,” he said, adding that he recruited families with kids who get involved and make this part of their lifestyle.
Spencer is an avid snowboarder and mountain biker who bought a condominium in Warren 12 years ago. He is retired as an executive vice president of a transportation and logistics company in Williston.
For more information about stewardMRV visit