Stories from the Field

By Katie Myszka August 19 - 22, 2007 — The gathering started off slowly as alumni began to fill up the campsite. We weren’t the only ones arriving at Yellow Pines, as our first black bear sighting occurred before 7pm. It meandered along a fallen tree and checked out Rob’s tent on the edge of the forest, squashing his straw hat in the process.

It’s a hot August afternoon and I’m working from home or trying to work anyway. Two old casement windows are cranked open and I’m distracted by the sound of many, many bumblebees swarming over a stand of Jerusalem artichoke aka Dump Daisies that are putting on their annual explosion of yellow.

I have seen a lot of SCA crews in my time.  But this one — and I say this with all due respect to the many in our ranks who wear their hard-earned grime and stench as a badge of honor — was the most putrid I have ever encountered.After three weeks of trail building in the backcountry of Great Smoky Mountains National Park they may have actually posed a greater environmental threat than the one t

Photos and text by Emily Poore, SCA Northeast Admissions Placement Coordinator Just back from a whirlwind trip through Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan - visiting 8 sites in 10 days - I was struck again by the broad range of experiences available through SCA.

Light and Shadow by Katie Sobalsky, SCA Intern Working in the same forest day in and day out allows me to take notice of its subtle changes and differences. Initial and quick glances give the impression of a land covered in green, and although this is a reasonable observation, closer inspection reveals the vastness in shades and tones of green.

by Laura Bogar, Mount Rainier Ambassador, Conservation Leadership Corps member When I picked up the paper on the morning of November 5th, 2006, I almost forgot to breathe. My mountain – the mountain – Western Washington’s Mount Rainier had been hit, hard, by the record-setting rain of the day before. The details were unclear, but the damage was great. Roads were out.

by Katie Sobalsky, SCA Intern Building trails is Understanding it’s Feng Shui Therapeutic Poetic Zen-like Time to think Time to not think at all Tiring Physical Mental Rewarding Peaceful Appreciating nature Minimizing footprints Building trails is art

Richmond, Vermont - UVM Graduate Students James Barnes and Delia Delongchamp are developing a new program with UVM, SCA and other land conservation programs. From their Graduate Research Master’s Project: The program adheres to a “service-learning” framework, combining teaching of core knowledge and skills in land stewardship with in-field service to land conservation organizations.

From Live Earth and youTube, a tribute to Michele Gardner-Quinn, SCA Intern ‘06, Prince William Forest Park, VA.

Ugly or not, We’re Building Trail by Katie Sobalsky, SCA Intern We headed to the mountain for our first 10-day hitch, which came and went in the blink of an eye. The crew and I busted it out and built some beautiful trail. It’s a different forest and different trail than any I’ve worked in before.

I’d like to say my recent visit to Voyageurs and recollections from The Summer of Love prompted my brief Fourth of July camping trip to Bridgton, Maine but in truth it had been scheduled for weeks, as my work schedule and that of my wife allowed only for a long weekend. On Saturday, we paddled the length of Highland Lake and back.

This great post reminds me of last week when the power went out and everyone was out on their porch, walking around, and greeting neighbors they never see because they are glued to the tube. A small town that usually seems dead was suddenly alive. This reminded me of the passagiatta (evening stroll around town) in Italy, and how I could never figure out how to actually make it happen. Until now.

I’ve been traveling a lot lately and I enjoy long plane rides if only because they permit me to read. Lately I’ve encountered numerous stories about 1967’s “Summer of Love” (SCA’s 50th isn’t the only anniversary going on). I’ll admit it: I was around during the Summer of Love, though as I was all of 11 years old I didn’t fully participate in the, um, experience.

I did the evening drive to Voyageurs at, shall we say, warp speed. In fact, as I navigated northward the lightning bugs glancing off my windshield could have been phaser blasts deflecting off my force field. If, you know, such things were real.

by Katie Sobalsky, SCA Intern Eating with Ethics This is something that I’ve grown to understand and appreciate. My time at Green Mountain College has instilled in me a deeper understanding of the importance of what we eat. Not just for our own personal health, but the health of the planet.

A conventional timeline suggests that time moves relentlessly forward. A pocketwatch shows that time moves in perpetual circles. All I can say is that time…moves…me. The local volunteers who hit Wonderland Trail during my Rainier visit ranged in age from 20 to 50.

Most trails take you through parks or forests. This one took us through time. I’m at Mount Rainier National Park with some SCA crew leaders and local volunteers. Our board of directors was here yesterday, helping to redirect part of the Wonderland Trail after a rain-swelled, ravenous Nisqually River took a giant bite out of the trail near Cougar Rock last winter.

Removing a fence in 100 degree weather in rattlesnake country may not be the most glamorous job, but our SCA interns at Padre Island make it look easy. The exclosure fences are part of a thesis for a New Mexico State graduate student. The study is complete so the fences need to be taken down.