by Lauren Freedman, SCA Staff
Wednesday, August 13 was an idyllic summer day -- the bright spot in weeks of endlessly gray, rainy weather – and the perfect day for SCA’s 4th annual Conservation Commencement at national headquarters in Charlestown, New Hampshire.
Featured activities included sneak peek tours of SCA’s new LEED-certified building, a talk with founder Elizabeth C. Titus Putnam, and a local organic lunch catered by SCA alumna Sarah Hipple. The afternoon capped off with speeches by SCA president Dale Penny, Massachusetts Parks AmeriCorps member Rick Richards, and a keynote address by environmental activist Gloria Flora.
Rick Richards brought the crowd to its feet with his inspirational words for fellow SCA members and tales from the field: “As a member of the Mass Parks community, I do far more than I ever could with just these two hands. I affect the land and its people far longer than I am present to witness, and I am responsible for so much more work than any one person could ever do. Yes, it’s true that I’ve learned to do things this year that I never thought I could, but more importantly, who I am has changed. I have become a person who lives in service to the land.”
SCA staff members, alumni, supporters and friends in Charlestown were joined by interns, corps, and crew members from Boston, the Appalachian Trail, Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Bear Brook State Park, Massachusetts Parks AmeriCorps, and the USACE Upper Connecticut River Basin. Gary Pelton, a five-year partner from the USACE Upper Connecticut River Basin, was honored for his dedication and commitment to SCA crews and interns. Other partners who joined the festivities represented Central New England Fisheries, White Mountain National Forest, and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife.
In her closing remarks, Gloria Flora charged the 2008 SCA members leaving the field with a difficult task: communicating their new relationship with nature to their family and friends at home. “How can you explain to the folks back home what grew in your heart? That you’ve brought back with you an expanded sense of what it means to be ‘with’ the land, not just on it, passing through or using it? How do you explain how the new relationship, this deepening friendship, between you and the land has changed you? And that for the lands we love to continue to flourish, the rest of us must change too. To awaken that sleeping memory of what it means to be of the land, to respect the land and its rich abundance of life-affirming and life-sustaining resources. To treat it like the treasure that it is.”
See more photos from the Conservation Commencement on SCA's blog.
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