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Helena Pagano
with Boulder County Parks and Open Space
by Melva Seal

Anyone who has hiked or mountain biked across the trails and backcountry of Boulder County has benefited from the hard work of volunteers like Helena Pagano. As a volunteer for Boulder County Parks and Open Space, Pagano contributes to the department's commitment to conserve environmental and cultural resources in ways that reflect sound resource management and community values.

During the spring and summer months, Pagano leads Forestry and Trail Crews on service projects to improve open spaces. She works alongside her forestry crews to cut down young trees, clear underbrush, and trim back tree branches. Their efforts help to reverse the effects of human intervention and fire suppression, which have upset the balance of the forest ecosystem. Their work also keeps forests healthy enough to withstand natural challenges like disease and beetle infestation. Trail Crews clear brush, rocks, and debris, clear top soil, and pack the earth to create clear, safe trails for hikers and cyclists.

The work for both crews can be challenging, requiring hiking and heavy lifting of slash and equipment. But like many of Boulder County's outdoor enthusiasts, Pagano enjoys the physical labor and likes to work outdoors. She also enjoys the sense of accomplishment she feels from having done her part to help the environment. "Volunteering allows me to share my passion [for the environment] with other people in a practical way," Pagano says.

Because the Parks and Open Spaces program is tasked with maintaining such a vast acreage, volunteers are always needed. By working to improve and protect the land, volunteers can gain a better understanding of the science behind open space preservation and come away with an even greater appreciation of the parks and trails they access every day. Pagano encourages anyone who shares her enthusiasm for nature and their community to "Volunteer for the environment!"

For information about volunteering with Boulder County Parks and Open Space or other agencies, call the Volunteer Connection at 303-444-4904.

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