Cliff Berchtold: A Day in the Life of the Trail Conference

January 21, 2018
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Cliff Berchtold: A Day in the Life of the Trail Conference


Trail Conference Roles: Trail Maintainer, ISF Surveyor, Workshop Instructor

“As a citizen scientist, you get a better idea for the health of a forest,” says Cliff Berchtold, who has been keeping an eye on trails and trail lands as a Trail Conference volunteer for more than 20 years. A retired director of transportation for Monroe-Woodbury School District, Cliff joined the Trail Conference as a trail maintainer in 1995 and became an Invasives Strike Force surveyor in 2013.

The Trail Conference’s Invasives Strike Force (ISF) trains volunteers in invasive plant identification and survey protocol in efforts to protect biodiversity in our region. Since he joined ISF, Cliff has surveyed 58 miles of trails for invasives. Cliff, who lives in Monroe, N.Y., also volunteers in the Trail Conference office helping to prepare for the season by creating maps and processing data. But his favorite part of the job is getting outside while giving back to benefit future hikers.

“In today’s fast and techy world, surveying for invasives forces you to slow down,” he says. “You can soak in the forest, appreciate the smaller things in nature, and get to know that piece of trail.”

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