With the first hitch of the season under my belt I feel confident and amped up for the coming months, both the service to be done and the time around my new home. For the first hitch my crew and I focused our efforts on clearing corridors and removing blowdowns throughout the Kenneth Dubuque State Forest trail system. Conveniently this forest is also where SCA Massachusetts AmeriCorps is based out of. Through hiking and clearing the trails that have surrounded me for the past two months I was able to see just how beautiful and diverse the place where I live is. A calming brook...Read more
At out project site on the Quinobequin Road trail we had the pleasure of making acquaintances with multiple trail users. Many were eager to ask us what we were doing and where we were from. Most of the users lived in the surrounding neighborhood and were very happy to have the section of trail moved to keep it out of the water that covered the path in the wet season. One of the highlights of being on this section of trail was seeing massive snapping turtles mating. It was something most of our crew had never witnessed before. The turtles were 40 lbs each and made quite a scene by the...Read more
Our team started our Conservation Season with a pretty challenging first project. The location: Middlesex Fells Reserve – a large reserve ten miles north of Boston. The project: install stone steps on a 100 foot portion of the Skyline trail. From the beginning, we knew that we wouldn’t be able to lay 100 feet of stones in 5 days. I spoke with our State contact about this and he agreed that the project was ambitious for the period of time. He left it up to our team as to how we wanted to improve the trail with the time we had.
This was pretty daunting for a first time crew-...Read more
When Student Conservation Association (SCA) supporter and 1983 alumnus, Bob Kachinski, was fresh out of college, he went on what he describes as “a real adventure” by boarding a bus in Massachusetts for a three-day, three-night cross-country trip to rural Worland, Wyoming. Once at his destination, Bob was to start a three month SCA internship with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as an assistant to a regional wildlife biologist.
Recalling his journey and his first impressions upon arrival, 31 years later, Bob says he was struck by how different things were. “…..Confined to...Read more
I am a gripper of the hoist. That means that my specialty skill is rigging, using a griphoist to set up highlines and/or draglines to move heavy objects like boulders that would be otherwise too diﬃcult to move. Our motto is “Slow and boring!” mostly because if we mess up, boulders can go crashing through the forest, wreaking havoc wherever they may!
Specialty skills week has been a whirlwind of learning new skills and honing decision-making processes, making rocky (ha!) puns, and overcoming the challenge of the seemingly never-ending...Read more
Each morning, my teaching partner Nathan and I drive to Florida, Massachusetts to begin teaching at Gabriell Abbott Memorial School. It is a forty-minute drive, through twists and turns, down many hills and then up a mountain. Sometimes we get stuck behind a school bus or mailperson. Other times, there is a car behind us, frustrated with our slow moving van. Some mornings, my mind is racing, going through the lessons planned for the day and thinking of supplies we need to organize. Most of the time, I do not think about much except turning on and off the turning signal. As much...Read more
New England winters are tough: freezing temperatures, multiple feet of snow just piled high on the ground at all times, bitter winds that rip through your down jacket like you weren’t even wearing one. What really makes it tough though is how hard it is to be active. I do my fair share of playing in the snow and sledding and can sneak in a run every now and then, but what I miss the most is being able to going out on bike rides. When the temperatures are consistently in the teens or lower it’s just too cold to go out on the road.
For around 3 months my...Read more
A not so unusual Friday here in Hawley, when the Emma L. Miller Elementary School joined us for the day. The 4th and 5th graders built this quinzhee hut as a part of our wilderness survival lesson for them. This quinzhee is a hollowed out mound of snow that as many as four students squeezed inside. Here at SCA Massachusetts AmeriCorps, we’re all about bringing environmental education to kids through the simple joy of being outside (or inside a mound of snow)!
On April 22nd, SCA Massachusetts AmeriCorps members will be hosting 90 K-3rd grade students from the local area. Students will be on site at the Kenneth Dubuque State Forest in Hawley, Massachusetts from 9am until 4pm. While there, students will be broken into groups and will rotate through various learning stations with Corps members. They will be learning about habitats, animals, wilderness survival, and seasons.
February 1, 2015
I am sitting on a tree swing suspended by purple rope next to the frozen Hallockville pond. The wind is rushing through the tree branches high above me and blowing up whorls of snow ﬂurries that have come to rest atop the pond. The sun is out and the sky is a crisp but warm blue with puffs of clouds gliding quickly over the tree and hilltops out of view. My page is wet from the blowing snowﬂakes and my glove damp from an earlier fall. The branches snap and creak. There are no bird calls. I am alone on a...Read more