SUWA’s Stewardship Program is working toward a measured resumption of field-based volunteer programming in the coming months. We will adapt our field practices during and following the pandemic to ensure our program’s long-term resilience.
We are currently drafting a comprehensive COVID Response Plan to ensure the safety and comfort of all of our volunteers as we transition into a new paradigm of hands-on wilderness protection.
Beginning in June, we will trial and host small-scale stewardship opportunities. As we do, several new protocols will be put into practice, including:
- The requirement of PPE (personal protective equipment) in the form of masks and gloves while on projects.
- Enhanced washing and sanitizing stations for volunteers and for tool cleanliness.
- Limitations on shared transportation while on a project and carpooling to and from the project.
- Temporary restrictions on volunteer place of origin. (Our focus is to recruit as local to the project area as possible. Sometimes this will mean by town, by county, or statewide. For the time being we are only recruiting Utah residents on our June crews.)
- Physical distancing while on site, working, and camping. We will design projects to maximize comfort and spacing while still accomplishing our restoration goals.
- Comprehensive pre-screening, including a new Health & Safety Form Questionnaire and a direct call or video interview with all volunteers to discuss new protocols and assess eligibility.
Our primary concern is the health and safety of our staff and volunteers – and their families, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. As impacts to public lands increase as crowds return en masse, we will ensure first of all that you are safe. If you apply for a project, but experience a change of mind or have a concern about your own recent potential exposure to the virus, please let us know. The best we can do for one another through these transitional times is to be as honest and forthright as possible.
As we trial a return to stewardship, we thank you for your ongoing support and willingness to adapt. As always, please feel free to write or call: (435) 259-9151.
Center for Disease Control
General information and advisement pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic
National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance
Information on wilderness management and programming during the COVID-19 pandemic