Martha’s Vineyard, Cheez-it’s, Heath Hens


There are many new things I’ve learned while working with the SCA, from how to chop wood to what a lap joint is and the alarmingly massive amount of Cheez-it’s hungry people can consume. Not only have I gained these new skills (except for my impressive cheez-it consumption- that’s always been pretty good) but SCA has afforded us the opportunity to gain them in beautiful places. I’ve explored more of Massachusetts than I would be able to if I had any other job. This awesome job perk became especially clear this past hitch when my crew and I had the good fortune to work in Manuel Correlus State Forest on Martha’s Vineyard.

The forest makes up the center of the island famous for stunning beaches and good seafood. It is filled with scrub oak, shady trails, and new meadows recently created by their burn management program. It began as a reserve for the now extinct heath hen. If you find yourself there, I highly recommend traveling along the bike path and paying tribute to the heath hen sculpture. It’s a larger than life reminder of why preserving natural spaces is important. Although the heath hen is no longer around, there are many rare species of plants, which we learning from several DCR ecologists. Many of them grow in the fire roads, stretches of the forest I rarely took time to consider before this hitch.

However, we used those roads to access all of the hiking trails we worked on. For 10 days, we lopped back scrub oak tangles while checking ourselves and making sure we weren’t hosts to any new tick friends. At the end of 10 days in Manuel Correllus and late afternoons at a nearby state park on the ocean, we were ready to go home but thankful for a sweet time.