I grew up native to northeastern Pennsylvania. Throughout this time, I developed many memorable moments in the outdoors. After I graduated college, I found myself moving to Arizona for a year to experience a change of pace. It was here where I first learned about Americorps and various programs that operate in similar ways.
I told my leaders that for my next step in life, I wanted to be working outdoors. That is when they referred me to the Student Conservation Association (SCA).
I was pretty impressed with all of the possibilities one organization could offer — there were opportunities in every state!
After a bit of searching, I came across the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps, a program under the SCA that had conservation crews across the beautiful state of Pennsylvania.
I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw there was a crew stationed out of my hometown of Wilkes-Barre. My first day took place in a state forest rather than a state park, so we were completely surrounded by nature. Our task was to establish the boundary line between state and private property.
This may sound easy; but let me assure you that it is also very easy to lose track of an invisible line running through more than 50 acres of forest. I was excited to be a part of something so great; but I was nervous that I would clip a branch the wrong way or find out it was a rare or endangered species that I had just snipped off.
Luckily, that wasn’t the case. I soon took to a pair of loppers the way a surfer does to the sea. I was in my own paradise, with waves of trees and ferns. By the end of my first week, I knew I belonged here.