Volunteer Profile: Len Parker – Jack of Many Trades

A combination of diverse skills, commitment and serendipity brought Len Parker to Avalonia. On a cold winter day in early 2012, Len and his wife Ingrid hiked out to meet Beth Sullivan, Stonington Town Chair, and long-time volunteer Binti Ackley while they were marking boundaries deep in the woods of ALC’s Lamb’s Way Preserve. Len and Ingrid live next to the preserve, and, after talking with Beth and Binti, Len decided to get involved as a volunteer. “It was great running into Beth and Binti and to hear about Avalonia and all that they were doing. Beth cajoled me into joining, and I decided to become a volunteer and see what I could do to help.”

And what a volunteer! Almost 10 years of work, both on the preserves and in the office, highlight Len’s diverse and rare combination of skills. As a steward, Len has been spending a fair amount of time on the Lambs Way preserve, fighting a “losing battle” with invasives, mainly oriental bittersweet. He has also planted trees at the Hoffmann Preserve, completed various boundary walks, and picked up trash along any road or highway that borders ALC.

Just as critical to Avalonia’s success is Len’s involvement with our constituent data bases, including Little Green Light. He worked closely with the late David Young on establishing Box, our digital records system. Len, along with volunteers Binti Ackley and Betsy Morton, scanned and loaded every set of minutes from 50 years of Board meetings, thousands of property documents, and myriad other records. He is also involved with ALC’s all-important reaccreditation efforts to ensure we continue to be certified by the Land Trust Alliance.

Beth Sullivan, chair of the Stonington Town Committee, says of Len: “He helped me organize our town files, right in the beginning. The hard copy files for Stonington were disastrous, measured in feet and pounds of paper! I could never have managed to get things in order for accreditation, or myself, without Len’s help and guidance. He is patient and precise, which helps when you’re in a tornado of disorganization.”
“We are a better organization now that we have these systems in place, “Len said. “These are big changes, but necessary to ensure we are running smoothly and professionally. Many don’t enjoy the “inside work,” he says, “but I do the ho-hum work to keep things humming.”

Len is a great example of a dedicated volunteer whose work spreads across many areas of effort and expertise. We are very lucky he came out into the woods on that cold February day.