By Mel Oliver, Crew Member
In the midst of a food service job during the pandemic, I spent my free time volunteering at multiple encampments around Philadelphia and lending all the support I could. I met many helpful and genuine people, one of them being Matthew MacDermat, or Matteo. He told me about the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps.
Feeling boosted from working so closely with my community, a position to nourish the earth, myself, and the surrounding community with conservation work ticked all the boxes for me to try my skills out somewhere new.
On August 17th, I started with the Philadelphia crew midway through the season. A season which started amidst many challenges; a global pandemic, subsequent quarantine and then the continued work to upkeep the beauty of Pennsylvania’s commonwealth.
I joined the Philadelphia crew out at Tyler State Park, where we continued building stairs up a trail. As a first project I couldn’t have asked for anything more stimulating for the need for a challenge and abundance of energy.
I also began to understand the planning and communication that goes into each project. The stairs took us the rest of the week to build up a hilly trail. It was hard work and sometimes frustrating lining up the wood planks for the stairs as the incline became steeper.