Let Us Introduce Ourselves
Welcome to our trail crew – SCA Trail Corps Gabrielle, Miranda, Chad, Ryan, and Alexis. Follow our summer journey as we build mountain bike trails with the Cleveland Metroparks! Take a moment to get to know us and the Cleveland Metroparks a little better! Also, you can continue to follow our crew through August 15th 2014!
Hi, I’m Miranda. I’m from Connecticut, and it was there that my parents introduced me to environmental consciousness and outdoors recreation at a very young age. I remember hiking in Sleeping Giant State Park, staring at the ground so as to not awkwardly misstep. As anyone who has been on a rugged trail knows, that is a guaranteed way to awkwardly misstep. Slowly and delicately, with the precision of a hummingbird, I hovered my foot above a rock, giving myself time to test its sturdiness. That extra second allowed the incredibly uncoordinated person that I am shine through. One does not simply balance on one foot. Shooting forward, I fell face first on the gravel path. I distinctly remember my arms flapping on either side of me and hitting my brother; apparently I planned to fly away.
My mom offered me a hand, but I refused. No, everything looked different from the ground, and I couldn’t just ignore that. Chin digging into sand, I watched as ants methodically pulled at worn blades of grass from beneath my family’s shoes. With a whisper, “Mom, watch out. There are animals everywhere.”
Since that discovery, I’ve grown as an environmentalist. I am a prospective Earth Science major at Vassar College who enjoys exploring the Hudson Valley in hiking shoes, on bike pedals, and on high up tree limbs. This past year in Vassar’s renowned Barefoot Monkeys Circus Troupe, I have pursued circus arts, extensively practicing juggling, spinning poi, partner acrobatic balancing, and otherwise performing with fire, to the despair of my worrying family. Beyond this, I am an avid skier, reader, and writer with a passion for the outdoors.
This summer, in the Cleveland Metroparks will be an amazing experience. Our wonderful crew has been practicing our new trail skills to aid in the recent opening of a lengthy bike loop in the Metroparks’ Bedford Reservation. Yesterday morning, Cottonwood seeds, carried in white spheres, drifted past us like snow. Today, the sun glints off of dewy maple leaves. I cannot wait to see what this summer has in store.
Hello, I’m Chad, an intern for the SCA working on the trails in the Cleveland Metroparks this summer. Looking forward to both building trails as well as riding them all summer long- it should be fun. I currently live in Indiana where I am a senior in college. I am majoring in Environmental Management, and hope to achieve a career in the industrial side of our society- either at a recycling center, hazardous waste control, site remediation, or a disaster responder.
My name is Ryan Ueunten and this summer I am working in Cleveland Metroparks with four other people whom are a part of our Corps Member Team. Going into SCA, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, but after two weeks with everyone, it’s been a positive experience. It is great to be alongside these awesome people, and I think we have a pretty nice team. This experience is really exciting for me because not only is this my first time working with the SCA, but it is my first time in this part of the country. My dream is to see as much as I can of what this country has to offer, and I think I’m pretty lucky to be working in such a unique place. Cleveland Metroparks is a variety of natural open areas around Cleveland that contain some pretty sweet places for hiking, biking, and stuff like that. It is also an important ecosystem and home to many species. It is a great place to escape all the hustle and bustle of the city and a simple way to find peace through nature. So far it’s been a pleasure to work in Cleveland Metroparks, and I’m looking forward for an exciting summer!
My name is Alexis Ramos. I am a third year student pursuing a Biology Major at Florida International University. I live in Miami, Florida, but I was born in Cuba on December 21st of 1992. I lived in a town named Perico in the province of Matanzas until I was 16 years old; at that age I moved with my family to Miami. In my home country I was pursuing studies in Tourism Management and Hospitality.
I was raised in the country side, and since kid spent lots of time in close proximity to nature. From back then I learned to appreciate and take care of the environment that surrounded me. My studies in Cuba, from fourth to ninth grade, also captivated me and made me like the life sciences even more. When I got into college, now in Miami, I decided to deviate from my original studies and pursue a Biology Major. Tourism Industry in Cuba is very important, and getting some studies in that would have allowed me to sustain myself and help my family economically while I changed my focus of study to Biology. I like Biology in general because it includes all life in general, but it also ties them up to the environment. In the course of my studies, I have mixed my Biology classes with Ecology and Conservation Biology.
After three years of studying I am now approaching the time when I have to decide what field I want to go into. There is medicine in one end of the expect rum, and a Biology Masters in the other. I have a wide range to choose from, but I am still trying to decide. The Summer Internship opportunity I have been given by the Student Conservation Association is a perfect chance to explore the Conservation Field. In this three months long program I am hoping to find out if Conservation Biology is the career I want to pursue, or at least get a very good gasp of the concepts behind the field.
My name is Gabrielle aka Gabby. This will be my 10th position with The Student Conservation Association and I look forward to leading my first Corps position. I currently reside in Columbus, OH about 2 hours south of Cleveland though I am a New Hampshire Native. I have always been connected to being outside from a small age wither it was playing in the woods and rock quarry that was behind my house or spending every summer with my Grandparents at the lake. In high school I was part of a wonderful outdoor education program that really peaked my interest for the outdoors especially backpacking.
I began SCA the summer of 2004 and was a corps member working with the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. I then continued with SCA working with the Florida Trail Association, The Nature Conservancy in Long Island, and then led 4 High School Crews in the Delaware Water Gap, Denali National Park, and in Winfield, LA. Being a corps member was amazing and I now take great pride in being a leader and being able to pass on my trail knowledge and experience to my members!
First arriving at the Cleveland Metroparks I have been surprised by not only how big these parks are but how well supported by the community these parks are. I look forward to serve the Cleveland and Surrounding Communities to improve their Metroparks experience!
Now, let’s move on and learn a little about the Cleveland!!
The oldest park district in Ohio, the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District was born in 1917, the initiative of a young, self-taught engineer who had conceived the idea of an outer chain of parks with connecting boulevards some 12 years earlier. William Stinchcomb’s genius was to anticipate the future need for open space at a time when Cuyahoga County outside of Cleveland was still largely rural. From a few scattered donations of land in the Rocky River Valley, the Park District grew to embrace some of the most scenic areas of Greater Cleveland.
Stinchcomb first suggested his idea in 1905 and repeated his plea in 1909. Cleveland, which was then the nation’s sixth largest city, finally formed a park board in 1912 following an act by the Ohio Senate. In April 1912, West Side brewer Leonard Schlather offered to donate approximately three acres of bottom land in the Rocky River Valley.
But, there was a problem. Although the park board had the power to receive gifts of land and property, it had no money of its own and no authority to raise money by bonds or taxation. The park board remained basically dormant for several years.
State law changed in 1915, allowing the Cuyahoga County Commissioners to appropriate money to the park board and in 1916 the first funds were received. Stinchcomb, who had been elected Cuyahoga County engineer, stayed involved in the project as a consulting engineer and developed the “Proposed Cuyahoga County Park and Boulevard System.” The plan showed a continuous parkway encircling Cuyahoga County, threading its way through the Rocky River, Big Creek, Chippewa Creek, Tinkers Creek, Chagrin River and Euclid Creek valleys, and connecting, in two places, with the existing city of Cleveland park system.
In March 1917, the Ohio General Assembly passed a bill providing for “the conservation of natural resources by the creation, development and improvement of park districts.” On June 30, 1917, the Board of Trustees of Euclid Township petitioned the Probate Judge of Cuyahoga County for the creation of the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District. In July, a new park board was appointed and then met for the first time on July 30, 1917. Stinchcomb stayed on as a consultant without compensation.
From its inception through the 1920s, the Cleveland Metropolitan Park Board concentrated its efforts on assembling parkland. The Park District materially took shape during its first decade. In 1920, the Park District held title to just 109 acres of land in Rocky River and Big Creek; by 1930, it had acquired at a cost of $3.9 million, 9,000 acres in nine large, unconnected reservations: Rocky River, Huntington, Big Creek, Hinckley, Brecksville, Bedford, South Chagrin, North Chagrin and Euclid Creek.