Forest, garden and construction work in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York, USA



 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks



  • Description


    –“You teach me, I forget. You show me, I remember. You involve me, I understand.” – E.O. Wilson

    My wife, Maria, and I are rejuvenating our farm/homestead in the eastern Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. We live off a quiet, rural road in Marcellus, on 23 acres with ponds, meadows, forest, a trout stream and 3,000 newly planted trees.

    We are working with a state forester to reduce invasive species and diversify native vegetation to enrich the environment and offset climate change factors. It's an experiment of sorts: What kind of difference will it make to create a richly diverse 23-acre habitat that is surrounded by an ocean of invasives? The task is bigger than us in every way, and we've had volunteers from Japan, Hungary, Chile, South Africa, Kenya, Australia, India, Italy, Germany and the U.S. helping us.

    We host guest for two to three weeks, though that is negotiable.

    During spring, fall and winter months we cut invasives and spray their stems with herbicide. We cut, split and stack firewood. We have indoor projects.

    We have a fenced organic raised-bed garden and a cat. We are renovating our cabin by the trout stream, which involves basic carpentry work and painting.

    I am an artist, yoga teacher, journalist and an author of two biographies. Before journalism work I owned an organic produce farm that sold to restaurants and a local farmer’s market. Maria is a massage therapist and actress when her hands are not in the dirt. I am a good cook, Maria is an exceptional one. We are both experienced travelers and have hosted for decades. We work hard and like to relax at day's end.

    We are a five-six hour bus ride from New York City. We know the area well and like to take day trips to local waterfalls, lakes, theaters and museums. We're not welcoming pets or children at this time.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
  • UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Maria and I have been hosting travelers and international guests for years. We are kind, sensitive and curious, and well-traveled ourselves. We care deeply about the environment. We appreciate and are grateful for the beauty and preciousness of this life and where we are. Each stay experience with our guest workers evolves as we share our experiences and values with each other.

  • Help


    We'll need help starting in March, clearing invasives, cutting/thinning trees in a more mature part of our forest, preparing for planting young trees. We'll also begin opening up our garden, manuring around fruit trees and bushes, getting raised beds started.

    Forest rejuvenation is our biggest ongoing project, especially the invasive reduction, which involves cutting certain small trees and shrubs and spraying their stumps with herbicide. Tree planting is a short, intense period in early May that involves wedging open the soil with a tree spade to plant seedlings, putting weedbarrier fabric around each seedling along with a tree tube or small fence. Maintenance after planting includes watering, scything, uprighting tree tubes that have begun to lean, removing weeds from around the sapling trunk.

    We're cutting and splitting firewood, improving trails with stone and gravel. We work garden beds with a broad fork, add manure and mulch, plant successively in raised beds.

    Our cabin project involves assisting with carpentry and painting.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Beginner
    French: Beginner

  • Accommodation


    Workaway guests will stay in a well-appointed room with internet. Our house has one main bathroom upstairs with a tub and shower that we all share, and a smaller half-bathroom downstairs. Workaway guests are expected to keep themselves and their quarters clean and in order.

    We have a big, covered porch outside that overlooks our pond, which is a beautiful place to spend time in the warm months.

    Workaway guests will share meals prepared or provided by us. Dinner is the meal we most often share together as our schedules allow, but we occasionally indulge ourselves and guests with a nice breakfast or lunch.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We can pick guests up in Syracuse at the bus or train station - a 35 minute drive from our house. We have bicycles to use on the beautiful and hilly country roads around us. There is lots of water around here—several Finger Lakes, waterfalls and rivers. We like to swim, sail and canoe on off-days.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    Internet is solid.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    Plenty of room to park, an outdoor shower with hot and cold water.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 754189961463

Feedback (13)



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Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (4.9)

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