BREC Conservation Green Force
Do you have a love for our parish’s natural landscape? Do you visit our parks and wonder how you can help improve local habitats and trails? If so The Force is calling your name! BREC Conservation is looking for eager, hard working individuals interested in learning more about local habitats to be members of an elite, trained group of volunteers called The Green Force.
What is the Green Force?
The Green Force was created to provide an outlet for volunteers dedicated to creating healthier and more native natural areas within East Baton Rouge Parish. It is our hope that it will provide necessary resources for BREC Conservation to accomplish crucial management objectives, allow for an educated force of volunteers who will uphold our high-quality standards, and will serve as an outlet for like-minded individuals to find interesting and fun projects to work on together. The Conservation Green Force is a subset of the much larger Volunteer with BREC Program run by BREC’s Volunteer Coordinator and operates with the same requirements and standards with the addition to those set by the Green Force Program.
What kind of work does the Green Force Do?
What don’t they do is a better question! After the 8-hour training course you will be qualified to conduct management activities such as trail maintenance, biodiversity surveys and invasive species removal on your own or with a team of other volunteers. BREC provides the necessary tools to complete these projects which often include using loppers, hand pruners and weed cutters to remove vegetation. Trail work often consists of walking trails and assessing needs, clearing debris, putting up trail markers, looking for safety concerns, etc. Additionally, you will also be trained to be a team lead for trail clearing work when we are cutting in a new trail or leading youth in management activities during outreach events and school field trip programs.
In addition to management work, Green Force team members also get first priority in assisting with BREC Conservation programming such as Night Hikes, Woods Walks and Fishing Rodeos. During programs, Green Force volunteers act as program aides assisting with check-in, taking photographs, answering patron questions, helping set-up and tear-down and assisting patrons on the trail over obstacles.
Overall, we want to use your strengths and abilities as best we can so if there is something in particular you are good at, tell us about it and we can work to determine the best jobs for you! Below is a list of a few of our standard job categories which are covered during training.
Programs and Public Outreach:
Although at this time volunteer will not be leading interpretive programs by themselves we often need help facilitating programs, outreach events and service learning projects with local schools.
- Program Aid
- Program Photographer
- Roving Interpreter
- Service Learning Program Aid
Special Projects and Events:
A few times a year BREC Conservation hosts large special events and we need help with all aspects of logistics. Events include the Bioblitz, Extreme Green or Summer Camp.
- General Event Aid
- Bioblitz Aid
- Summer Camp Aid/Instructor
Invasive Species Removal:
This segment of the Green Force will help us fight the battle against alien invaders in our conservation areas. You will be trained in species identification and how to use our various tools of the trade. Certain individuals who pass a species id check and have previous experience working invasive species removals can serve as Team Leaders which coordinate projects that do not require BREC staff supervision. Volunteers will also help to monitor effectiveness of removal techniques and projects. Work is typically seasonal.
- Team Leader
- Invasive Team Member
Trail Construction and Maintenance:
We need the help of the Green Force to keep trails in working condition throughout the year when we often have too much on our plate to conduct trail surveys and work days. Individuals or groups with a strong commitment level and willingness can adopt a park and the trail within to ensure they are maintained, reporting any issues to BREC staff. General trail crew will show interest and BREC will send out to trail in need of service or assessment.
- General Trail Crew
- Adopt A Trail Group/Individual
Help us collect baseline data using citizen science tools such as iNaturalist. We will train you on our protocols but volunteers must have education or experience with species of choice or be willing to research a topic in order to conduct surveys.
- General Park Surveyor
- Species Specific Wildlife Survey
- REAP Assessor
Adopt A Pond:
As we dive further into developing management schedules for our ponds we will need individuals or groups interested in adopting a particular BREC fishing pond. This would require the responsibility of keeping the pond and edge clear of trash and debris, checking, and removing fishing line from monofilament recycling stations, helping to keep fisherman access locations clear of vegetation and assisting with invasive species removal as necessary and planned.
Be a sustainability expert and help others within the community learn how to be green as well! These force member will help us conduct recycling bin surveys to see if people are using ones in place effectively and help us determine where to put bins that are need. With all help at outreach events to promote use of recycling bins at event.
If you are more interested in taking pictures of park trails, wildlife and plants within our parks this would be the position for you. This person will visit parks at their leisure and take high resolution images that they would then allow us to use in signage and promotional material.
If you have some knowledge of GIS systems and how to use a GPS device we will need people who are willing to go out into parks and collect data for new GIS system. This person could potentially even help to download data and create maps if that is in their skill set.
What are The Green Force Program Requirements?
As a member of the Green Force we expect you to go above and beyond the average volunteer commitment. We know you are capable of great things and through our trainings and project opportunities we hope to provide desirable educational outlets to broaden your knowledge base and fuel your love of our natural areas. A willingness to get a little dirty and learn new things will go a long way in this program. In addition to the standard BREC Volunteer expectations we will also require the following.
Green Force Program Requirements:
- A minimum of 20 hours of service a year towards BREC Conservation Projects.
- Attend one of our biannual training days in entirety each year.
- 16 years or older (exceptions for youth with dedicated parent willing to co-volunteer with child)
- Conduct projects under BREC Conservation guidelines and procedures as stated in the manual and during trainings including recording of all hours.
- Complete Volunteer Application and pass background check.
What are the benefits of being a Green Force Member?
You mean in addition to getting outside with like-minded folks and working in the woods? When the force is with you, good things happen. Therefore, we are honored to have you as a Green Force member and want to thank you for all your hard work with these program perks. These benefits are provided in addition to those of the standard Volunteer with BREC Program and although those perks can be achieved by volunteering with any BREC department, program or event, the hour requirements listed below must be towards Conservation approved projects and programs.
Bronze Frog level is achieved with the minimum 20 service hours annually and provides the following benefits.
- BREC Conservation T-shirt
- BREC Conservation Water bottle
- Collectible Bronze Frog Enamel Pin
- Volunteer-only Appreciation Program at end of year
Silver-spotted Skipper level is achieved by contributing a minimum of 30 hours annually and provides access to the following benefits.
- All Bronze Frog benefits
- Collectible Silver-Spotted Skipper Enamel Pin
- $500 tax break
Golden Orb Weaver
Golden Orb Weaver level is achieved with a minimum of 60 hours of service annually and provides access to the following benefits.
- All Silver-Spotted Skipper Benefits
- Collectible Golden Orb Weaver Enamel Pin
- Collared, embroidered BREC Conservation shirt
Ivory-billed Woodpecker level is achieved with a minimum of 90 hours of service annually and provides access to the following benefits.
- All Golden Orb Weaver Benefits
- Collectible Ivory-billed Woodpecker Enamel Pin
- First Year: Walking Stick recognizing service
- Subsequent Years: Recognition plate for walking stick
When are Green Force Trainings?
2017 was the inaugural year for the Green Force Program so we are still assessing the communities needs and working out the program kinks. The training consists of a classroom portion in the morning and a field portion in the afternoon; lunch in provided. Currently we are offering trainings annually in December. We hope in the future to hold an additional training session in the spring or fall and we expect that to start in 2019. Unfortunately, at this time we do not offer make-up training sessions if you are unable to make the training date. However, if the need becomes great we may consider adding a second date in January to accommodate all those who miss the December training. If you cannot make the training date below but are interested in being a Green Force Member please contact us as soon as possible so that we know you are interested.
How Do I register for the Green Force Training?
It’s easy with our online volunteer registration system!
- Go to volunteer.brec.org or click on one of the above registration links to get to our online volunteer registration system.
- Create an account if you do not have one already. This will allow all of you to register for any of our BREC volunteer opportunities, including the Green Force Training and will easily track your hours for you.
- Click on the “Sign Up” Button for the training of your choosing. This will initiate your background check and once that has been approved you will receive an email that you have been cleared for Green Force Training.
- The background check email will have a short survey of your meal preferences and transportation needs. Once that is complete, you are registered!
The FORCE is calling...