by Lauren Freedman, SCA Staff
As the New Hampshire Conservation Corps switched gears from their environmental education work with local school children to summer trail work, they stayed at SCA Headquarters in Charlestown for a week of intense conservation service training. I caught up with three of the members to find out more about their corps experience.
What was your motivation in joining the NHCC?
Christina Minor (21 years old, Geneva, OH): My sister was in the New Hampshire Bear Brook Corps two years ago and loved it. I wanted to gain on-the-job experience and build confidence in my abilities. I knew that I would love working with kids and doing service learning projects with them.
Greg Jackson (23 years old, Minnetonka, MN): I was involved in a green campus initiative at Marquette University, where I went to school. I wanted to build on the environmental work that I started while I was there.
What have you gained in your five months with the NH Corps?
Greg: We’ve been working in the environmental education portion of our year, so I’ve learned how to talk about the environment with the younger population. The important part is getting kids interested. Kids are so disconnected from nature! The earlier they have positive experiences in the outdoors, the more likely they are to have a connection with nature.
Kylie Hudson (24 years old, Pittsburgh, PA): I co-led the Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC)—our job was just so awesome. The kids were so excited that it was contagious. We learned how to take environmental action in urban areas. You just have to look for the crucial environmental areas in your neighborhood. There are a lot of amazing ecological things going on in Manchester. We went eagle watching and went to the cedar swamp in Hackett Hill—the kids didn’t even know it was there. We took urban hikes and the students really learned to appreciate their own surroundings.
Are there any highlights or moments that particularly stand out?
Christina: I worked on a recycling mosaic with the 4th grade classes I worked with. We got so many kids and teachers involved at the school—now we’re looking for somewhere to display it in the community.
Greg: I had the opportunity to go to SCA’s EarthVision in April—I learned how to frame an environmental message. It’s crucial to learn to communicate effectively about the environment. People think of the environment as a separate issue instead of one that we all share. I also met and exchanged cards with the guy who has my dream job.
Kylie: EarthVision was definitely a highlight. I took two high school students from our CLC program. It was so inspiring for them! They came back wanting to start a composting system at their school. They’re even going to the school board to propose the idea to them.
What has the group experience with the corps been like?
Kylie: We’ve all built a sense of community within a group of people we didn’t choose. And at the end of the day, I don’t have a door to shut, so I’ve learned to live with everyone—you need serious patience and have to be mindful of your quirks.
Greg: Living and working together all the time is a challenge. People in the corps are from all different backgrounds, so at times we’ve had to work hard at working together. But that also means there’s a lot of skill swapping. Everyone brings something to the group; everyone has something to teach everyone else.
Christina: The skill swapping has been a real highlight of being in the corps. I’ve learned about belly dancing, compass skills, and reading star charts, just to name a few. I’m looking forward to bonding with new people during trail season.
What are you looking forward to over the next five months?
Greg: I’m really excited to learn about trail maintenance and develop new skills. By the end of it, I’ll be ready for anything. But even after I’m finished in the New Hampshire Corps, I want to stay connected to SCA.
Kylie: I’m looking forward to doing trail work—I’ve never done it before. I’m anxious to learn all the new skills and get to work with a great group of people. I’m ready to get dirty and be filthy.
Christina: I’ve never been camping before. Just having that experience will be really great. Knowing that I can do trail work and teach other people about trail work will be a real asset for me. I want to get out there and do some work!
Photos, from top: Kylie; Christina; Greg; Kylie.
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