For 8 days the Manchester Leaders have been partaking in WIlderness First Responder classes. Not only are they learning how to handle injuries in the front and back country but they are extensively practicing technique.
Here Michael Milkavich is practicing the bowline knot.
Tyler Pitts is taking the lead in treating a severe head trauma.
Julia Walsh is creating a sling for an arm injury.
Here Lan Tran is pictured in the back carrying the litter they made using camp materials for a person who is unable to hike out after an injury.
In the afternoon we provided much needed infrastructure improvement to the Blodget Parks trails. This included closing social trails, trail corridor brushing, and full bench tread maintaince.
On Saturday, April 13, the Manchester CLC took part in a special service event, teaming up with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension to do some work in the 4-H gardens located at the Massabesic Audubon Center. Our service was performed in conjunction with the Audubon Center’s Earth Day celebration, giving our members the opportunity to showcase their work to the larger community.
Over the course of the day, our group succeeded in constructing nine new frames for garden beds. The old frames had rotted out, so this project also included deconstructing the existing frames and removing A LOT of screws that were repurposed to the new construction. We also helped to turn the garden’s large compost pile, which gave our students the chance to use their ingenuity and problem solving skills. Some of the compost even became a ramp that a wheelbarrow could be wheeled across in order to move more compost further down the pile! Needless to say, it was a lot of fun.
Over 400 members of the Manchester community attended the Earth Day event, which included eco-themed games and activities, live music, and displays from conservation groups in the area. The SCA New Hampshire Corps also had a large presence at the event, showcasing the service learning projects they have been working on at elementary schools across Manchester. All in all, the day was a great opportunity for the group to do the same type of meaningful conservation service work that we do each week, with the added bonus of involving the community in this process.
On Saturday April 6th, 10 SCA Manchester crew members and 4 leaders fearlessly headed out to Rock Rimmon Park to take on the tire graveyard! Rock Rimmon Park has long been a place where people and companies have illegally dumped tires. Over the years, hundreds of tires have built up in the park along the Merrimack River. On Saturday, April 6th, the fourteen of us removed SIX HUNDRED AND SEVENTY tires out of the park.
Our crew arrived around 9:30 AM and scoped out what lay ahead of us, and we immediately got to work. We tried every tactic of moving tires, we carried them (sometimes 8 at a time!), we rolled them, and we threw them like a discus. Despite the work being fairly “tire”ing, everyone kept working hard and helping each other along the way.
Morale stayed high as we worked together as a team to move as many tires as possible. We could not have accomplished as much as we did if it weren’t for the team work and positive attitude that everyone maintained throughout the day. We were encouraged along the way as neighbors stopped by in amazement and gratitude to thank us for our service. All in all, it was a completely successful day!
Those who saw a group having fun at Kalivas Park Thursday, March 28, were seeing SCA Manchester learning about Leave No Trace (LNT)!
After an intense game of Gypsie Soccer, a brief overview of our upcoming events, and an introduction to the seven principles of LNT, we explored different surface durability at Kalivas Park.
Then we took tic-tac-toe to a whole new level, with two teams figuring out the answers to questions about LNT before they could jump into a tic-tac-toe spot as X or O. Both teams answered correctly for all questions and tied the game. Everyone seemed to enjoy thinking deeper about specific questions of leave no trace scenarios.
For the second week in a row, our Education and Prep Night meeting featured a guest speaker sharing her experiences in the field of conservation. On March 21, Emily Klein, a Ph.D. student in the Natural Resources & Environmental Studies department at the University of New Hampshire, led the corps members through a discussion on conservation field research, providing examples from her own life and encouraging our students to consider similar opportunities.
Emily spent four years living and working outside, assisting with studies that helped local agencies protect bird and mammal species. The research topics included assessing lynx populations in Yellowstone National Park, determining river otter populations in Kentucky, analyzing avian diseases in Hawaii, and more. Not only did this work assist conservation efforts; she also had the chance to live in some of the most breathtaking natural areas in the country.
Emily’s presentation certainly piqued the interest of many of our corps members. In the coming months, we look forward to bringing in more guest speakers who can introduce this group to the abundant opportunities for living, working – and even studying – in the great outdoors.
Saturday March 16th, we had to pleasure of helping out at Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center in Lacona. Despite being a bit chillier this weekend, we had clear and sunny skies.
We started off the day by installing bird boxes around Prescott Farm. Everyone got a chance to work together and find the stands and match the bird boxes to them. It was fun to wander around the farm and get to see the property.
After we finished with the bird boxes, we hiked down to the sugar house to learn about sap collection and turning it into maple sugar. It was fun to hike around and find sugar maples and measure to see if they were big enough to be tapped. We even had the chance to try some of the maple sugar and compare it to the taste of the sap.
Prescott Farm was a great success and everyone learned a little something new. Whether it was that they actually do like the taste of Maple syrup or that it is impossible not to laugh when someone says “honey, I love you, can you please, please smile?”
Thursday, March 14th.
This Thursday Ed Prep Night marked one month for SCA Manchester 2013. This week we had a special guest speaker from the University of New Hampshire, Elizabeth Burakowski. Liz is a Ph.D. student within the Department of Earth Sciences focusing on how Anthropogenic Changes in Land Cover Type Impact Climate Through Changes in Winter Surface Albedo.
She came and talked to SCA Manchester about climate change and how it does and will affect New Hampshire. We had a lot of people show up to listen to Elizabeth, and ask a lot of very important questions about the significance of climate change in our lives.
Saturday, March 9th, we were greeted with a warm and sunny day for our trip to Squam Lakes Natural Science Center and the Loon Preservation Center.
At the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, SCA Manchester was given an interpretive tour of their animal trail. We got to see raptors, bobcats, mountain lions, owls, foxes and more.
It was really exciting to get to see these native New Hampshire wildlife up close and personal. Our interpretive guide was very informative and answered all of the corps members many questions with ease. We finished off our trip to the Squam Nature Science Center by learning about the beaver they have their and watching him nibble on sweet potatoes and carrots.
After leaving the Squam Nature Science Center, we hopped into the vans and drove to the Loon Center in Moultonboro. At the Loon Center, we broke up into two groups and got down to work. Half of us worked together to move a footbridge that had washed away during Hurricane Sandy. The other half of us headed out on the trails at the Loon Center and brushed back some of the trees and shrubs that had grown into the trail.
Overall we had a beautiful and productive day. We all got a chance to become more familiar with the animals living around us and finally get to work doing some hands on conservation work!
There may still be snow on the ground, but it’s always a good time for a trip to the beach. On Saturday, March 2, our Manchester CLC group celebrated spring a little early, dedicating a day of service work to the New Hampshire seacoast. Though the forecast called for rain and snow, it turned out to be a beautiful and sunny day, adding to the good vibes generated by the work being done.
We spend the morning helping the Blue Ocean Society do a cleanup of Jenness Beach. Working in groups, we scoured the sand in search of plastic bags, bottle caps, netting, and much more. Corps members also got to learn about the effects that marine debris have on aquatic ecosystems and organisms. In only about an hour and a half, we contributed to collecting 118 pounds of trash!
After scarfing down our lunches, everyone headed over to Odiorne State Park to assist the Seacoast Science Center in moving some rocks. Well, actually it was A LOT of rocks – and little ones, too. This didn’t deter the students, however, and they used shovels, rakes, or their hands to clear about 750 square feet of debris left over by winter storms.
After the work, Science Center naturalists gave us a tour of the exhibits and animals inside, including an in-depth look at octopi.
All that time in the sun left us pretty tired by the end of the afternoon, but there were still quite a few smiles to be seen on the drive home. Here’s to spring!
Saturday, February 16th, ten Manchester high school students braved the early morning snow to come out to Bear Brook State Park for a day of hiking and environmental education.
We started out the morning with some fun games that ended with our first safety stretch circle of the 2013 season.
Caleb Savage and Emily Barry, two of our interpreter interns at Bear Brook, took us all on a wonderful morning hike, during which we learned a little bit about the history of Spruce Pond camp and the landscape.
After taking a break for lunch and filling up on food and warm drinks, we headed back out for an afternoon hike led by Steven Gang and Nicole Juppe, two more of our interpreter interns. On this hike, we all got to explore Bear Brook a little further and learn how to identify trees in the area and appreciate the sights and sounds of Bear Brook.
We finished off the day with a nice campfire. Everyone had a chance to roast some marshmallows and drink some hot chocolate. Saturday was full of laughs and fun games and we are really excited about the upcoming season.
To kick off the SCA Manchester CLC's 2013 season, we hosted our Returning Member Get-Together on Thursday, February 7th. This was a gathering just for corps members who have participated in SCA Manchester in previous years, and it served multiple purposes. Not only was it a chance for returning members to reunite, it also gave us, the new group of Manchester CLC Leaders, the opportunity to learn from some of the program's seasoned veterans.
We started strong by playing a game of This is How I Move, in which we got to see some of the best dance moves this side of the Merrimack! After we got our sillies out, we took some time to reflect on past years and discuss hopes and expectations for the 2013 season. Not surprisingly, it seems that our returning members are hiking enthusiasts. But even more than hiking, they like to work hard – looks like we have a great year ahead. We look forward to meeting the new members who will join this group and take part in some exciting conservation service work this year!
SCA Manchester will be having an information session for all new interested members!
Time: 7:00 -8:00 PM
Date: February 5th
Venue: Salavation Army in Downtown Manchester. 121 Cedar Street.
Who's Invited: Parents, family, friends.
SCA Manchester made the NPS Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program Newsletter. Please check out the link
The Manchester CLC Leaders will be visiting all three High Schools in the Manchester area this week.
Manchester West High School Tuesday January 29th
Manchester Central High School Wednesday January 30th
Manchester Memorial High School Thursday January 31st
SCA Manchester 2012 celebrated their achievements and commitment to volunteer work on Saturday, October 13, 2012 in a ceremony in the Winchell Room of the Manchester City Library.
The ceremony began with a meet and greet over pizza and beverages and moved into a video recapping all of the volunteer work that was been performed between February and September. From every hitch and every Saturday event there were pictures of Manchester high school students working together toward an improved community.
Keynote speaker and SCA founder Liz Titus-Putnam addressed the students, their families, representatives from supporting agencies, and SCA New Hampshire Corps members. She spoke of the importance of working together to conserve our natural resources and the fragile environment we live in, and of our mandate to preserve something future generations can be proud of.
Deyris Taveras, a 2012 participant, then gave a heartfelt account of her time in SCA Manchester that had many, crew leaders included, in tears. She spoke of her first time camping and the many valuable experiences she has had.
Certificates of achievement acknowledged 42 Manchester high school students who have committed time, totaling over 3,000 hours, to helping improve public spaces in Manchester and the state of New Hampshire.
The ceremony closed with SCA Manchester’s supporters signing a proclamation, to be sent to Mayor Gatsas and Governor Lynch, dedicating themselves to service.
Our special thanks to everyone involved in supporting SCA Manchester in 2012!
Please welcome a new group of leaders for 2013, they’ll begin visiting schools and providing information for next year in February.
SCA Manchester made their way over to the SCA national headquarter in Charlestown, NH for a couple nights camping out and trail work on the Charlestown Conservation Commission land. The team took the trail from virgin slope to 1 yard wide and over 470 feet in one day!!!
Thankfully, there was not to much NH granite on this section but plenty of roots and undergrowth to negotiate.
This should be a nice hike, mtn. bike ride or x-country ski route.
With 5 NH high school participants, 5 SCA staff, and 2 conservation commission members, a tremendous amount got accomplished in a day and a half.
And all done with a smile.
On Saturday September 22nd, the SCA Manchester crew leaders and SCA Manchester member Shamma met up with The Nature Conservancy's Andrew Smeltz to repair a bog bridge in the unique cedar swamp in Antrim, New Hampshire. Together, the team replaced five boards totaling approximately fifty feet of aged hemlock so that visitors will be able to view the Atlantic White Cedar trees. Andrew informed the crew that these unique cedars, which typically flourish in marshy areas on the east coast, have been growing in this area for over 4,000 years! With that being said, SCA Manchester was particularly proud to be providing service in this area.
The crew used pry bars to pull up the old rotting and sometimes broken boards and replaced them with new rough sawn hemlock provided by The Nature Conservancy. The crew also installed additional footers, or sills, to provide extra support and to extend the life of the wood stringers.
Come join us next week, Saturday September 29th . We will be returning to the Massabesic Audubon Center working on the 4H Gardens.
For more photos see attachments
Enjoy the photos!
click link above for details and great story. That and more on the New Found Pathways website:
Summer is quickly coming to an end and the crews are back from the wild lands of New Hampshire with a little more knowledge, new companions, and a ton more skill. This summer four crews ventured out and GOT THINGS DONE. There is now a dispersed shelter from the newly designated Wild River Wilderness, a well blazed trail that has been brushed and will re-open to public use in Grantham, a newly built trail that will lead to new pathways in partnerships and eventually around Newfound Lake, and fifty feet of stone turnpike constructed bringing the path out of the water on the Sugarloaf trail.
If you didn’t get a chance to come out on one of our crews this summer, don’t worry! We will be kicking off the fall events with an information session on Wednesday, September, 12th from 5 – 7pm at the Salvation Army. Returning members and new faces are always welcome! Bring your friends and family to find out what we will be digging into this fall with more projects and activities.
see the attached pictures as well
SCA Manchester CLC brought four New Hampshire high school students to NH Audubon's Paradise Point property to break new ground on the Newfound Lake Pathway project with the help of many people and organizations: The Student Conservation Association, The National Park Service, Newfound Lake Pathway, and the NH Audubon. This just goes to show how people can come together and make things meaningful happen in our communities and in regards to conservation. The community members of Hebron and members of each organization came out to show their support for our hard working crew each day.
The project was a huge success. Together the four students and two leaders built around 350 feet of beautiful mildly graded trail and made walkable 1200 feet of trail to bypass a dangerous climbing turn on North Shore Road that is walked by many residents of Newfound Lake.
Dear SCA Manchester and high school students:
Are you looking for something to do this summer? Have you been unable to attend SCA Manchester's Saturday events but want to attend summer hitches (2 week long conservation trips)? Do you want to earn $300 while living and working outside? Now is your time to speak up. Email us your availability now.
SCA Manchester has open spots for their two week conservations hitches in the White Mountains and parks of New Hampshire. Any Manchester high school student is eligible, all the gear is provided (backpacks, tents, a free pair of boots, headlamp, etc), and you get the opportunity to work for a national non-profit environmental organization. What can be better than that?
Here are a list of hitch dates:
Hitch A: July 2 - July 15 (White Mountains National Forest - Androscoggin District)
Hitch B: July 2 - July 15 (Grantham, New Hampshire & Mt. Kearsarge State Forest Park)
Hitch C: July 30 - August 12 (White Mountains National Forest - Pemigewasset District)
Hitch D: July 30 - August 12 (NH Audubon - Newfound Lake)
Please reply to this message if you are interested in coming out on these dates, and we will contact you with further instructions for getting enrolled.
We look forward to hearing from you!
April 21 the SCA NH corps' high school program, SCA Manchester helped the Governor and his wife dedicate a survivor tree in Concord.
The American Elm seedling was donated to NH as a survivor seedling of the Oklahoma bombing back in April of 1995. It has been steadily taking root in its new home in New Hampshire. To show just what a "survivor" it is check out the tap root that has gone more than 12 feet out in the three short years here in the hardy New England weather.
Dr. Susan Lynch, a pediatrician and 1st lady of NH, was on hand to make the dedication and even did some of the warm-up yoga with the crew before the project got underway. She introduced, Mike Vecchiarelli the SCA NH corps director, who said a few words about the Manchester team and our shared environmental stewardship goals. Finally, he introduced Gov. John Lynch who made the official proclamation of Earth Day in N.H.
Well, it was SCA Manchester's job to see that the tree continue that great growth with a little assistance. The team carefully pealed out the sod and grass; laid down a rich bead of loam; and then a warm bed of mulch. Careful not to hurt the shallow root structure, they built a barrier around the tree and set about doing more invasives removal and mulching elsewhere on the property.
Earth Day came early for those who were involved in the SCA and Massabesic Audubon's Earth Day Festival this past Saturday. While families were enjoying activities and presentations, the high school students decided that providing service is how they would recognize such a meaningful day. As children were running around in a recycle relay race facilitated by SCA NH Corps members, SCA Manchester was getting things done in the garden.
The Massabesic Audubon houses a 4-H community garden which in past years has produced over 6,000 pounds of organic produce that is donated to the New Hampshire Food Bank. It's more than just a garden that yields produce; it's also an outdoor classroom for youth and families alike.
The service day began with some energizing group games and a revitalizing crew stretch circle before going to work in the garden. We prepped the soil by weeding and tilling, turned the compost for distribution, and began the pizza garden by planting some garlic and onion.
As most of you know, this program doesn't just focus on the environment, but more broadly emphasizes leadership development for students. Two of our second year members, Zach Dumont and Weimin Tan, spoke on behalf the program in a presentation to the public which they created.
The Earth Day Festival was a magic day and we'll be continually spreading environmental awareness and engaging youth in stewardship opportunities for many Earth Day's to come.
check out more photos at www.manchesterearthday.com
The great thing about working trails is hiking trails. That’s the reason we do this kind of work, right? After two consecutive Saturdays clearing rails ties that have littered the Rockingham Recreational Trail for years, SCA Manchester decided to come together in a sort of celebration to hike the six mile round trip all the way to Massabesic Lake. The group pondered preparing for hitch season, and Aria laid out the basic principles of Leave No Trace while we walked the arbor corridor.
The first part of the day, the high school members spent some time performing trail assessment of the newly cleared rail trail. Marking hazards, describing tread width and composition, noting ownership and management of the trail itself. All of these skills cultivate the next generation of conservation leaders and workers. The members determined that the rail trail is a flat, multi-purpose recreational trail that is great for both commuters needing access to the city of Manchester and recreators seeking solitude at the beautiful Massabesic Lake. Additionally, even after performing a multitude of collective hours rehabbing the trail, the members concluded that resident yard waste, tree hazards, and garbage are still concerns that plague the Rockingham trail.
Along the way, members were tested by environmental ethics questions by co-leader Chelsea Kibbe. Students were challenged with questions thoughtful questions: “Do you need electricity to have fun?” and “Do humans have an obligation to solve environmental issues?” Members thoughtfully answered these questions and debated their reasonings developing their environmental education skills.
After the three mile long hike to Massabesic Lake in the warm spring sun, members were challenged with “Survival.” Groups of students had to use their previous developed reasoning skills to assess which items might help them survive a catastrophe in the wilderness. These moments can promote consensus between the group and it can also drive wedges between those who disagree. Both of these are experiences worth nothing when working in groups. However, in the end, agreeing to disagree and recognizing our differences when developing solutions is what SCA Manchester seeks to promote.
As the group walked back, discussing the upcoming Earth Day event at the Massabesic Audubon Center, the group dreamed about one day being able to use the trail to commute to future Earth Day events. And all this would be made possible by the 2012 SCA Manchester community crew program.
Braving a blustery morning and donning only a few hand tools and some bottles of water, SCA Manchester returned to Rockingham Rail Trail to continue removing rail-ties from the city owned portion of trail. We were joined by two volunteers who generously donated and their fork-laden tractors.
As two students were interviewed on the public access channel the rest enjoyed sipping coffee and wading through the many choices of donated Dunkin’ Donuts, arranged by Real Pinard.
After our stretch circle and safety discussions it was time to begin the day. Unlike our previous visit we dragged the ties from the disarray on the sides of the trail to form many small piles as we went, to be picked up en masse by the volunteers and their equipment. The area the Crew Leaders had expected to be covered over the entire day was quickly finished in less than two hours.
We continued making small piles down the trail, continuing to make small stacks the entire way.
On our way back to the vans for lunch we were impressed to find that we had just cleared a section of trail that, even with the incentive of food at the other end, took five minutes to walk.
Two hundred rail ties. We had beaten our record from the previous Saturday by forty ties and it was only lunch.
A few more donuts and some sack lunches, and then back to the rail ties.
We continued pushing farther and farther down the trail, removing the creosote-laden ties from adjacent wetlands, dragging the heavy lumber up the embankment.
By days end we had handled roughly six hundred rail ties, laid out and ready to be removed. We walked back to our vans past our work. Ironically, the trail was looking more like we were constructing a railroad than removing one, all of the ties laid out along the trail, stretching just around the bend.
Most of those ties are gone now. This section of what was the B&M Railroad’s Plymouth Branch looks much differently than it did when constructed in 1862. There are still traces of a rich history for those who enjoy the trail, but the rail ties strewn about the edges of the trail are gone now, and the creosote soaked ties are no longer in the wetland.
One of SCA Manchester's overarching pillars that is instilled in their members is teamwork. Without it, they cannot operate; with it, they can get things done. On March 17th, fifteen SCA Manchester high school members and the four leaders fully realized the teamwork that is needed to make an impact on and transform the huge rail trail project that is the Rockingham Recreational Trail in Manchester. Stretching for three miles from Manchester to Massabesic Lake, the abandoned railroad turned public recreational trail is plagued by hundreds upon hundreds of creosote soaked rail ties scattered on its margins. Because of this, the trail resembles more an unofficial alleyway rather than a proper scenic route to Massabesic Lake. Luckily for us, the ties are now safe to be disposed of.
The SCA Manchester members banded together and upon arrival glanced down the corridor at the hundreds of ties that needed to be moved that day. Some ties, reaching more than 12 foot long and well over several hundred pounds each, required whole work teams of 8 and 9 to be carried to the end of the trail. This kind of dangerous work requires careful consideration of tools, excellent communication, and, of course, team work. Altogether, the crew carefully stacked 168 rail ties.
As with any city trail project, the crew was greeted by community members and trail users expressing their gratitude of the service and hard work provided by the high school members. One special guest, Real Pinard, a retired city alderman and resident adjacent to the trail, shook the hands of the leaders of the program and told the crews some of the history of the old railroad when President Truman had visited the area.
Since it is such a large project, the crew has decided to spend another day at the trail on March 31st.
Imagine if you will a rocky stretch of coastline looking out into the Gulf of Maine. What do you see? Blue skies? Seagulls? Crabs? Sea shells? Something you probably do not picture in your mind is the amount of trash that washes up on shore during winter storms. Odiorne State Park manages two and a half miles of New Hampshire’s eighteen miles of coast. The SCA Manchester crew walked the coast pulling out lobster traps and bagging trash. Pulling things like rope, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans.
This event was a huge success thanks to the Seacoast Science Center who graciously allowed us to work in exchange for entrance to the center and provided a program from their naturalists. By the end of the day there were 9 bags of trash, and a pile of lobster traps off the beach and a few nuggets of knowledge were bestowed upon the members. Be on the lookout for where SCA Manchester goes next!
With the snow outside beginning to stick, eleven members braved the approaching storm to gather for SCA Manchester's biweekly Corps Meeting. As participants drifted into the warmth of the Salvation Army, they joined a pick-up game of Anteater Soccer with their leaders Chelsea Kibbe and Aria Bilal. Leader Kevin Webster brought the group together to discuss respect, participation, and involvement and introduced our call and response technique for getting the groups attention. The call, "When I say Corps Mates you say what! Corps Mates!" Then, the members voices filled the gym with the response "What?!" Everyone's attention was then on Kevin who headed up SCA Manchester's cultural exchange by showing the crowd how to play Alaskan Baseball.
After the fun-filled new forms of soccer and baseball were learned, members gathered to talk about individual program goals. Leader Chris Olsen led the discussion and introduced a goal survey for each individual to complete. The Corps went through the survey together and members shared with the group. This exercise is the first in a goal setting series that will help our high school students work toward achievement and bring us together as a Corps.
Speaking of working, the Manchester Crew has filled all seats for this Saturday's Service Learning Project which is a clean-up on Jenness Beach and Chelsea briefed those to be in attendance. Our evening of fun, safe, and educational activities came to an end after an hour and it was time to disperse like snowflakes in the sky.
Our next Corps is on March 14th at 4:30 pm at the Salvation Army, please join us.
As quiet anticipation filled two SCA emblazoned vans, SCA Manchester tramped in and out of Bear Brook State Park on the winding drive from Manchester through Allenstown, New Hampshire. White pines soared overhead; C.C.C. era buildings dot the ride; open water from half-frozen ponds shot sunlight through the trees and into our eyes. The wind was breezing, the sun was shining, and the early morning birds were chirping as the high school community members rode down the long and serene pass into the beautiful SCA New Hampshire Corps Spruce Pond Camp. With a lesson of layering under their belts from their previous Corps Meeting, the high school members were ready to tackle whatever weather this odd New Hampshire winter might throw at them. Fortunately for everyone, nature's hot chocolate, the sun, accompanied us through all our plans and left our preparations unimpeded.
As we exited the vans to explore the historic C.C.C. building that makes up our camp, members were challenged to leave their electronics behind, embrace the woods, and get to know the forest in a way that they may have never imagined nor seen. "Respect yourself, respect others, and respect the environment," encouraged co-leader Chelsea Kibbe to set the theme that pervaded the day's plans.
"I've got mail for anyone that woke up at 6 am or earlier to be here today," one member highlighted during the icebreaker game, "I've got mail for...," led by Chris Olsen, which sparked the day's activities. It harked back to the C.C.C. days of ole when members woke up at 5:30 to begin a full day's work of conservation. The game allowed the group to not only connect with each in their similar capacities but also to represent the group's diversity as one member noted, "I've got mail for anyone who was not born in the United States," and the majority of the group competed for places around the circle. Later, two intense "Human Knot" games tested this new group's ability to communicate, work as a team, and get to know each other by name.
After a quick tour of the NH Corps living facilities, two interpretive hikes, one led by Jonathan Rager, another co-led by Maddy Hunt and Andrea Klaphake, acclimated the group to New England's woods, trees, and ecosystems. Since there were enough corps members to have two concurrent interpretations of the park happening at the same time, every minute was filled with informative moments. "There's a battle going on up there." Maddy encouraged the students to look up into the sky and observe the white pines of New Hampshire's mixed forest competing for sunlight. Maddy and Andrea made the forest feel alive to the group down the Beaver Pond trail. Birches are bending over trails searching for light, hemlocks were drooping in shame over their small cones, and peat moss squeezed dry onto the boardwalk over the marshlands. Quiet conversations between the members compared their own woods, trees, and forest from their homelands. The high school crew was instructed to hang back, giving the students priority over the lesson.
Jonathan Rager's hike was a slippery jaunt on the compacted ice that plagues Spruce Pond Road in the winter, and he prefaced his walk: "I don't want to scare you from walking on the ice, but the ice is a part of nature, and it's something I think you should experience." Jonathan spoke stories of the structure of state parks, the recreational activities and their presence in parks, and the Civilian Conservation Corps' influence not only on the trails the groups was currently standing on, the buildings everyone was entering and exiting but also on SCA Manchester itself. He challenged his groups to dig underneath the surface of the physical features of the park; Why are we all here trudging through this path? How did the history of design of Bear Brook State Park get us here right now? How do we stop and appreciate the natural elements available to us? It was an introductory philosophical swim into the natural world, history, and decision making. Jon utilized his skills of place based education. SCA Manchester was dutifully engaged, hopefully questioning inside their purpose of being here and what mark they will leave on the program.
The day wound down by a fire on the Spruce Pond beach complemented rightfully so by smores and hot chocolate. The high school crew chatted, observed their peers, and met who they will be working with on conservation projects in this year. Spontaneous games of ninja and soccer sprang up on the beach and several took the time to just look out on the pond to ponder where the harsh winter had gone.
With Spring just around the corner, SCA Manchester headed home-much louder and more lively than the ride in. The team has begun to form, the conservation projects are coming in, and the White Mountains are calling soon.
If you didn't believe it before, believe it now - the 2012 SCA Manchester Program has begun! Kicking off with the first Corps Meeting yesterday we can already see that this season holds great promise! At 4:30pm 27 members started mingling as they played the game "secret fact treasure hunt." Each person disclosed a fact about themselves as they entered the meeting. Then, this list was projected on the board as everyone mingled trying to find who matched which fact. After ten minutes of mingling we circled up and everyone introduced themselves and their fact with the group.
From there Aria led a brief discussion about the broad concept of conservation and how we apply such a broad term to this program. The members split into teams where they were given the opportunity to further discuss then draw what conservation was to them. This activity produced many giggles as all presented their visual representations.
Kevin took the lead explaining our very own mountain man Chris's layering ensemble. Then the members jumped at the chance to put their new layering knowledge to the test. A pile of miscellaneous clothing in the middle of the floor was the center piece of the next activity. A representative from each group was chosen to be the model of proper layering technique. Given only 90 seconds to complete their ensemble, laughs broke across the group as all teams raced to the large pile of clothing in the center of the floor and layer up as fast as they could.
All spots are full for our first Saturday Service Learning Event at Bear Brook State Park. The day will be filled with programs, campfire games, and fun! If you were unable to attend this weeks' Corps Meeting or Saturday Service Learning Event we hope that you will be able to join us at our next Corps Meeting on Wednesday, February 29th at 4:30pm or at our next Saturday Service Learning Event , March 3rd!
First Information Meeting
Wednesday February 8, 2012
Our first Information Meeting was a great success, our careful preparation and planning paid off when we found ourselves at the front of the room facing the 32 people who had attended. We had twenty-eight eligible high school students, three parents, and one participant's 8th grade sibling who was interested in learning more about the program. We were pleased to meet Emily Lord, an SCA Manchester Leader from 2011. It was great to see that our program is gaining interest, momentum, and visibility in the community.
The meeting began, as scheduled, at 7 PM in our usual meeting room at Salvation Army. We began by introducing ourselves and moved from there to a name game which took much longer than we had anticipated. This actually worked to our benefit as it kept the students engaged, moving and laughing at each other's dance moves. We had planned to do two activities but decided against the second after we realized we were pressed for time, this had the added benefit of focusing the attention on the informational aspect of our meeting.
We moved into our presentation from here, overcame a frightening technical detail, which allowed for a little bit more comic relief and a chance for us to show off our ability to improvise and adapt to challenges. Our presentation went well, after having practiced it and critiqued it so many times. We ended our presentation with a question and answer session.
We had asked two prominent returning members, Zach and Destiny, to speak to their experiences in the program last year. They both gave examples of meaningful events and recounted stories from their participation last year that we, as new leaders, could never have described while we were presenting. They provided proof that our program is fun and enjoyable. This was a definite highlight of the night.
We left time at the end for milling around and mingling. The students moved around and talked to us about who they are and asked us questions about ourselves. Many of them said they would be attending our next meeting and joining us on our first Saturday event at Bear Brook.
After this meeting, we as leaders are newly energized, and excited to see so much momentum. We learned that our presentation needs more of a conclusion, a review of the important pieces of paperwork, clarifications of things that might have been confusing. Our conclusion was something of a culmination of convoluted sidenotes. In no way did this ruin our presentation, but we feel we might have actually confused more people with our emphasis on clarity.
From here we are working on scheduling more events, getting more flyers into the community, scheduling opportunities to present in schools (tabling at lunch, as well as in-class presentations)and afterschool programs (like the YMCA teen program).
We also are working on meeting with Jessica Fleming of Manchester Parks and Recreation to establish a lasting, substantial partnership of some type(probably adopting a park, or trails), as Parks and Recreation is a partner we would love to have. It would provide a more visible, substantial, and logical place for SCA Manchester, a place that is a little more tangible and "show-off-able" to the participants friends and family. It would be a partnership that would tremendously benefit both organizations.
Here we go.
SCA Manchester Conservation Leadership Corps Leaders
SCA NH corps
159A Deerfield Road
Allenstown, NH 03275
(603) 485-2191 ext.5
It is February and icicles still line the rooftops, but the SCA Manchester Community Program event season has already begun. The first SCA Manchester event was a roaring success. The location was selected to be Bear Brook State Park; this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to view the rare SCA NH Corps members unimpeded in their natural habitat.
The Manchester community program members piled into logo emblazoned vans on a blistery, blustery morning eager for adventure and conservation. After an hour long drive deep into the New Hampshire countryside the seven participating members and four leaders arrived at Spruce Pond Camp. After the standard formalities, the first item on the agenda was a facilities tour so the new members could see where all the magic happens.
The community program members were thoroughly impressed by the general lack of amenities in the residential cabins and had many inquiries as how it was possible to survive without the basic necessities of life such as: McDonald's, cable television, electricity, and 4G networks. Afterward, they attended their first environmental presentation of the year led by two SCA NH Corps interpretive interns, Dan Coale and Lily Cason.
Through the staggeringly informative and educational medium of felt-board short stories along with the articulate and imaginative contributions of the interpreters, the history of Bear Brook State Park came alive. The group then feasted upon exquisitely prepared gado gado and macaroni & cheese made with extra care, for as any good leader knows, the best way into a high schooler's mind is through the stomach. The event culminated in a final act of conservation as the crew set off on an interpretive hike into the untamed wilderness.
Luckily two knowledgeable SCA NH Corps interpretive interns, Jordan Sawyer and Kat Drago, led the group along the scarcely traversed Broken Boulder Trail. The interns were more than capable, weathering the wilds and dodging obstacles deftly while interpreting the seemingly indecipherable nature with ease. What appeared to be a nondescript fallen tree to the untrained eye was explained to be caused by a gigantic grazing moose. "You can tell it was about eight feet tall due to the height of these nibblings," Kat Drago says gesturing frantically to a twig above her head as she trudges fearlessly off the trail into thigh-deep snow.
Above Smith Pond stands a lean-to shelter scrawled with the names of park visitors over the years, this served as the mid-point of the hike for the group. Here, they warmed their bemittened hands and bescarfed faces over an open fire and discussed the affairs of the day over local (extremely local) Hemlock Tea and Hot Chocolate.
At last, a wonderful day had come to an end and it was time to return to Manchester and their lives in doors, however with a little luck, perhaps these students will continue activity in the program and become lifelong Earth stewards.
1 - The 2011 SCA Manchester Leadership Corps warm-up at the Smith Pond lean-to with Team Leaders Carly, Sean, Darin and Emily, and NH Corps Interpreters, Kat and Jordan.
2 - Evan checks out the winter flora and fauna with binoculars.
3 - On their hike back to the lodge crew members tried some snowshoeing.
The SCA Manchester Conservation Leadership Corps members arose long before dawn to attend the 9th Annual Northeast Organic Farming Association's Winter Conference in Exeter, NH. This event brought home the themes of conservation and sustainability by focusing on something we can all relate to: what's on the dinner table! The volunteer work for the day began right away with Team Manchester helping to unload vendor materials from vehicles and set them up for the Green Market Fair. In addition to doing environmental education in the children's area and preparing the cafeteria for lunch, crew members were able to attend sessions, watch films, and meet local farmers and green producers. After a busy morning members were able to sit down for a well-earned organic feast with the conference's world-famous community potluck lunch. The whole day turned out to be a great success for Team Manchester. The crew enjoyed getting work done and having free time to explore their interests in a professional atmosphere.
1 - The SCA Manchester Crew and Team Leaders after a great day at the NOFA-NH Winter Conference.
2 - Crew member Mihn-Tam (Mia) explores the Green Market Fair.
Our second Saturday Event consisted of a beach cleanup at Jenness Beach followed by a visit to the Seacoast Science Center. We arrived at Jenness Beach to meet Patty, the Program Coordinator, for the Blue Ocean Society. She gave a short explanation about the Blue Ocean Society and how it relates to marine conservation, as well as how the beach cleanup benefits both the local community and ocean ecosystem as a whole. Following the cleanup, all the volunteers were able to debrief with the Blue Ocean Society. This gave us a good opportunity to ask questions, take pictures, and engage with professionals after the project.
After the cleanup we departed for our second destination, The Seacoast Science Center. Located about 10 minutes north towards Portsmouth, the center boasts interpretive exhibits, an interactive touch-tank, and seaside setting. Members were able to provide service to the center through various tasks needed to maintain a properly working facility. There were many exhibits illustrating the local history of the New England coast. In addition, there were many interactive engaging activities, such as a touch-tank with starfish, aquariums with various fish, and historical information.
The Manchester Conservation Leadership Corps members all seemed to have a great time, and thoroughly enjoyed their day by the ocean!
1 - Crew leader Sean and members Evan, Mihn-Tam, and Destiny begin the beach cleanup with Patty from the Blue Ocean Society.
2 - The windy day at the beach didn't stop the SCA Manchester crew from picking up 65 pounds of litter!
3 - Crew members Destiny, Mihn-Tam, Qi Qi, Weiman, and Evan enjoy one of the many interpretive exhibits at the Seacoast Science Center.
The SCA Manchester's members arrived at Bear Brook Friday afternoon excited for the weekend camping trip full of fun and service work. They geared up and hiked out to their campsite at Smith's Pond, complete with a rustic shelter which overlooks a tranquil and picturesque pond. It seemed that all of Bear Brook was excited for the members to be there, with close encounters with a turtle and a baby porcupine along the trail! The members were new to backpacking and to New Hampshire parks, all having recently moved to the United States from Nepal, but they quickly learned to set up camp and cook dinner by following Leave No Trace standards. The first evening went off without a hitch and to celebrate, SCA Manchester roasted marshmallows over the fire.
The next day was spent building a, much needed, bog bridge along a muddy trail. This was a big task and SCA Manchester conquered it! Moving the 12-foot, 18-inch diameter, White Pine log was just the start. Teaching the members that teamwork and communication were imperative to transport such a hefty load was the next step. The crew learned how to utilize a number of new tools and techniques throughout the project. They learned how to debark a tree with a draw-shave and spud bar and challenged each other to remove the largest portions of bark without breaking it. They learned how to remove wood wedges with a Pulaski, how to chisel, and so much more. At the end of the long day, they sat back satisfied and admired their work over a hearty meal and were surprised with doughnuts.
The crew woke up bright and early on Sunday and began breaking down camp. Following Leave No Trace principles they spent some time searching the site picking up any trash, their goal was: "Leave it better than you found it." Wrapping up the previous days work, the crew cleaned and sharpened the equipment used which they learned is the key to long lasting and effective tools. The day ended with a relaxing picnic at the beach before the drive back to Manchester. The SCA Manchester members left the weekend with a strong sense of accomplishment and with a great introduction to the New Hampshire wilderness.
The SCA Manchester crew stayed local for their final project of the event season. They arrived at Nutts Pond expecting a stormy day but instead found sunshine. The crew quickly geared up prepared themselves to take on the planting project to stabilize two of the pond's main banks. Nutts Pond is a small urban park located in southern Manchester which provides a great escape from the hubbub of the city life. The park is packed with families gathered on weekends and during the week people unwind in the fresh air during lunch.
Eight SCA Manchester members with their two crew leaders worked diligently alongside Rob Robinson, Manchester City Park's Manager, all day to till the soil in preparation for blueberry and dogwood plants. They planted nearly 50 plants on the banks and distributed mulch for further stabilization and visual appeal.
On a rainy Saturday the SCA Manchester crew arrived at Stark Park to lend a hand in keeping the park clean and safe for the neighboring community. The crew had an impressive turnout and was able to overhaul an entire slope of overgrown brush covered in leaves. Working diligently, the crew fought with tough rooted and thorny plants and was able to clear the slope and the sight lines. This was especially helpful to the park whose history of elicit behavior has been minimized during past years. Thanks to SCA Manchester's hard work, the sight lines opened up to deter any further elicit activity and to allow police to patrol the area more effectively.
Not only did the crew create this clearing, they collected many bags full of trash and making exciting finds at the same time! They ventured through the parks' extensive trail system collecting litter and searching out interesting fauna and wildlife when they stumbled across a giant, bright colored ball about five feet tall. So what could they possibly do with such a large ball? Have a good time and start a game with the ball? That's exactly what they did. And so the day ended with smiles and trip to a local pizzeria!
The SCA Manchester Crew's visit to the Karner Blue Butterfly Easement within the Concord Pine Barrens exemplified the concept of service learning. The SCA-M crew began the day with an interpretive hike, led by the Fish and Game Department who taught the crew about the delicate Pine Barren Forest ecosystem. The crew learned that fire is essential to this type of habitat because the fire resets the ecosystem by pushing back unwanted vegetation. This, in turn, increases light availability for vegetation vital to the habitat, such as the Blue Lupine plant which is the sole food source for the endangered New Hampshire State Butterfly - The Karner Blue.
The newly educated crew could now begin their service work for the day. They began clearing vegetation along a migratory butterfly corridor, making room for Blue Lupine to be planted the following month. After lunch they visited the ‘Captive Rearing Lab' where the crew members were given the opportunity to examine Karner eggs under magnification and witness the process by which they raise, tag, study, capture and release thousands of butterflies every year. The SCA-M crew returned to the Easement once more to create a firebreak; a clearing of vegetation which creates the perimeter of a prescribed burn, preventing it from getting out of control and becoming a wildfire. The crew finished the day hot and sweaty but cooled down with some much needed ice cream!
The SCA CLC's visit to Red Manse Organic Farm proved to be a victory over invasive plants that were slowing taking over. Armed with loppers, bow saws, pick mattocks and pick axes these thorny and deep rooted plants did not stand a chance. The CLC had the largest member turn out for the season and made for an army to be reckoned with. The weather even worked to their favor with sunny skies and a fresh breeze to cool these dirty but hard working volunteers. Midday the crew took a break to replenish their energy supply with lunch and homemade brownies, compliments of Red Manse. Members spread out to partake in a spontaneous game of Name Game Soccer and to introduce themselves to the Tuson's three children. Then it was back to confront the army of invasive plants. The day finished with a trek through the surrounding woods to take in the beauty of the thawing pond. The CLC members tried their hand at rock skipping but were no match for Earl Tuson, Red Manse owner and farmer.
Picture: Sarah and Vanessa's Bittersweet Triumph over invasive species
Coyotes, insects, herbs, chickens and vegan food: what do these all have in common? These are just a few of the topics that were presented at this year's Northeastern Organic Farmers Association's (NOFA) Winter Conference. The SCA CLC teamed up with the SCA corps members to assist with preparations for the event and also to make sure the workshops ran smoothly and stayed on schedule by volunteering as room monitors. Even though the day was long, it went off without a hitch. Surprisingly, the weather even cooperated. Throughout the day the CLC attended all four workshop series while taking breaks to explore the tide of vendors spread throughout the gym,. Midday the conference attendees gathered in the cafeteria for the Community Potluck Lunch. There was an amazing selection of goodies to choose from and good conversation to be had. After lunch, the CLC could not resist the smell of fresh air, so they headed outside to indulge in some rare sunshine. The day finished with some very sleepy-eyed but far more knowledgeable CLC members climbing back into the van to head home in Manchester.
Picture: The CLC corps members after a long and rewarding day at the NOFA Winter Conference
Mother Nature’s unpredictable temperament came just in time for the SCA CLC member’s hiking trip to Bear Brook State Park. A few days prior to the CLC event, a vicious wind and rain storm tore through the state uprooting hundreds of trees and knocking over power lines, leaving Bear Brook without power for nearly a week. Temperatures dropped the night before the event as a fresh layer of snow blanketed the unsettled park. The CLC arrived to Bear Brook awe-struck with beauty and ready to explore. The members bundled up for an interpretive hike lead by one of the SCA’s own knowledgeable corps members. Tracks were hard to come as the melting snow from the treetops fell to disrupt the fresh snow but that did not distract the avid members from identifying a number of plant life ranging from white pine, to red maple, to blueberry shrubs. The CLC even saw signs of moose and beaver. Then they headed back to the Bear Brook lodge to enjoy a much needed feasting without the luxury of electricity. Ready to get moving, the members geared up for some valuable conservation work. They headed off to ‘Broken Boulder Trail’ to clear and make the trail passable. This was the first conservation outing for the members and they worked diligently to remove fallen debris and saw off giant limbs from the fallen trees. Upon arrival at Smith’s Pond, the members gathered under the lean-to shelter on the ponds edge for break, and then they headed back to vans to warm their toes and head home.
Picture: CLC corps members enjoying a much needed break at Smith’s Pond lean-to