Thank You For a Great Year

By Ashley Davies, Regional Conservationist and Ameicorps-MassLIFT Member
If you’ve ever heard the phrase 6 degrees of separation, then you know where I’m heading with this article. While growing up you see the same faces everywhere. You never think much of this since you’re supposed to see these same students and neighbors daily, weekly, etc. You are connected to these people through a shared school or town but you don’t really think that your personal actions might really affect them or vice versa, you live in your world and they live in theirs, you only see each other in passing. This idea of disconnect is not reality and never has been. Since entering the “real world” I have found more connections in strange ways than I ever thought possible. Some of these connections were wonderful, and some I would have rather not have had happen, but they showed me how closely tied we are with not only our local community but with the citizens of our country and world.
When I moved to the MetroWest area, I felt so alone and so far from my friends and family. I thought that I would never feel a part of this community or my town. My time at SVT has changed all of that. I had never been one to seek out involvement in issues of the greater community. I had always felt that I should just deal with me and not get involved in the business of others, but I have since realized how wrong I was in assuming that issues beyond my own were “the business of others”. As a Regional Conservationist my position requires me to assist local towns and communities with land conservation efforts, and this inherently requires me to insert myself in “the business of others”. I started off very slowly and reticently introduced myself to some of the local movers and shakers in municipal government and at local land trusts. I was concerned at every turn that these individuals and communities would think that I was trying to interfere, but as the year continued I was no longer an outsider but a member of these communities and a part of the work that they were doing. As I now reach the end of a full year of service as a Regional Conservationist I have come to realize that our world functions because of people who step forward and get involved. It is not interfering to become involved in the issues of your community, it is necessary. As I continue on, I see every day how interconnected my life is with the lives of the people in my community and those communities around me. I am no longer a bystander wondering why things happen the way they do and hoping that things will be different, I am actively playing a role in my own destiny, in the events and issues that dictate my life.
In my time with SVT I have gotten to know an array of people in a number of towns. I have met conservationists, state and municipal officials, involved residents, farmers, landowners, volunteers, local business owners, and my neighbors. I now see these individuals often and when I pass them I know that we all share a common thread, we are residents of this world and we are all working together in stewarding its future.
Thanks to all of you that I have met this past year. You have made my service extremely rewarding and more enjoyable than I thought possible. I look forward to another year with you all in service of this watershed.