This award is given in recognition of successful efforts to influence public policy relating to trail planning, trail protection, trail development, or maintenance.
Stan Malcolm’s “Along the Air Line...” web site project has grown into a massive photo database of what can be seen along the Air Line Trail in eastern Connecticut— season by season, day by day.
Initiated in late 2001, the site Along the Airline now offers over 4,000 photos and videos of plants, animals, and landscapes; plus updates and special topics. The site routinely attracts over 1,000 visitors per month from over 40 countries. Visitors are treated to a virtual tour of the trail with plant and animal identifications and anecdotes about their ecology and behavior. “What’s New” provides alerts to trail improvements and maintenance.
Stan and the web site have been featured in newspaper articles (Hartford Courant; Regional Standard), a public radio program (Field Notes via WFCR, Amherst, MA), and a Gallery exhibition (Trailside Gallery, Northampton, MA). He has used the site as the focal point of programs advocating the trail’s scenic highlights (“Along the Air Line...”) and nature photography techniques (“Nature Photography 101”). PowerPoint slides of these programs are downloadable from the web site. Stan’s photos were donated for use in the official trail brochure and map boards along the route.
Of course, being on the trail daily for nearly 9 years, Stan is recognized as an informal steward— lobbying Department of Environmental Protection and park & recreation directors of host towns when routine and emergency maintenance and improvements are necessary. He also guides trail visitors and points out features they would otherwise miss. In 2005, The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection honored Stan with a Green Circle Award for his work on the web site. The DEP established the GreenCircle Award Program to recognize businesses, institutions, individuals, and civic organizations who have participated in projects that promote natural resource conservation or environmental awareness.
In all these ways, Stan has served, and continues to serve, as an advocate for the Air Line Trail. The trail is a scenic gem in eastern Connecticut. Through Stan’s web site, visitors gain a better understanding of all it has to offer. Many become regular trail users; others who visit from afar continue to view the web site as new content is frequently added. A web site may not seem like much, but visit the site and you’ll realize what a rich resource it is.