What began as a labor of love and appreciation from a handful of dedicated supporters expanded into an annual tradition shared by many when late museum president Penni Sharp and Scott Reid hatched a plan to host a Thanksgiving trail-clearing “party.” They invited volunteers of all ages to meet at the Museum with clippers and loppers before heading out onto the trails to remove fallen limbs and cut back overgrowth, with the promise of oysters and drinks afterwards. Penni hosted the trail-clearing party for the volunteers at her home for the following nine years and now the tradition continues at the Museum.
“It all started with the idea that by hosting an annual trail-clearing event we would get more people out onto the trails—some for the first time ever—while providing needed help for the Museum’s Land Trust,” says Reid. Now the annual event brings 60–70 people out to clear the trails (plus the island’s beaches) at Thanksgiving and 20–30 individuals over Memorial Day weekend.
Clean up of Stony Beach on Hay Harbor was added to the volunteer efforts in 2018. Stony Beach is a Land Trust property and an important habitat for nesting shore birds. The initial cleanup garnered enough plastic and other trash to fill three Boston Whalers (or 30 large bags plus tires and bulky debris). The consolidated effort from 10-year-olds on up to adults took several hours to bag up, haul out by boat and truck to the dump.