As co-leader of Great Barrington Trails & Greenways, Christine Ward “discovered” the Appalachian Trail while developing a trail map for the town. She was determined to learn more and, in partnering with ATC, the AMC-Berkshire Chapter, and the NPS, she met people dedicated to the Trail.
Christine was impressed by the diligent volunteers of AMC-Berkshire’s Massachusetts A.T. Committee as they worked with GB Trails and others to have the town designated as one of the first A.T. Communities in 2009. She became more involved with the A.T. committee, and she and her husband began volunteering to maintain a Trail section.
Watching experienced A.T. volunteers tackle bridge building and other big projects while teaching others the skills needed to get the job done inspired Christine to introduce people to the Trail and Trail volunteers. GB Trails hosts an annual July A.T. Community Day, offering hikes and a potluck picnic for hikers, maintainers, AMC teen trail crews, and ridgerunners. A.T. thru-hikers are also invited for a big feed. “We also provide seasonal A.T. hikes, some especially for families,where we can help others discover the beauty of the Trail and learn how to hike safely and responsibly.”
Christine began volunteering at ATC’s Kellogg Conservation Center. Located beside the A.T. corridor, with fields grazed by sheep of a partnering farmer, she says it “is a wonderful illustration of the natural, agricultural, and historic ties of the Appalachian Trail.”
According to Adam Brown, ATC conservation stewardship manager at Kellogg, “Christine is a tireless volunteer, and her talents as a gardener have significantly improved the visual aesthetic of the grounds over the past few years. She is also a crack birder and leads birding workshops each year on the property.”
Christine encourages others to seek opportunities to volunteer for the Trail. “No task is too small or too big! Don’t be afraid to join in—you will meet kind, caring, and hardworking folks who will appreciate your being there. You will learn a lot and, best of all, you will deepen your connection to the A.T. and those who treasure it.”