Today I would like to share what I am most passionate about with you. In the past few months I have become obsessed with night photography. This might not sound like the most extreme or high speed hobby. Honestly, for most it probably doesn’t even sound like fun. To those who say it isn’t worthwhile, I dare them to come out to Hawley for a night. Hawley is a perfect kind of place for a person like me. The type of person that enjoys just sitting and watching the stars. It feels like a different world when you can look up and see thousands of stars right above your head. It is...Read more
Lately animal tracks threaten adventure. Critters crisscross networks of shoveled pathways between buildings, leaving footprints that switch my track from chores and lesson planning toward destinations unknown in the Hawley woods.
At Bernardston Elementary School, the Kindergarten class has been working diligently as A-class scientists, engaging in experiments concerning forces that are strong or weak, pushing or pulling, stable or dynamic. Although my interactions with the scientists in these ‘laboratory’ settings is secretarial (facilitation and safety), to ensure they do not fall out of their chairs with excitement or stick melting crayons up their noses, I’ve found that the ground-shaking excitement and tactile intrigue in the ease of melting colored wax mirrors the way Hawley, SCA, and Americorps make me ...Read more
Before coming to Hawley to join the SCA Massachusetts AmeriCorps team, I was living in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California. This is where I returned during our two-week winter break, a long and well-earned vacation for the students of western Massachusetts and, by extension, for our crew in Hawley. In late December, the eighteen of us scattered about in cars, trains, and planes, to go spend the holidays with families and friends. I ﬂew from Hartford, Connecticut (amid snowstorms and delays) to Los Angeles, where my old friends were waiting to pluck me up and...Read more
This program has fulfilled and exceeded my expectations in every way so far. The food that is provided is delicious and plentiful. I have yet to have a bad meal. The program is full of opportunities to grow both personally and professionally. Living in a community of 18 is a lot more fun and cozy than I expected. Finding a quiet...Read more
After four years of college roommates, I was quite excited to finally live on my own. However, since moving to Hawley, I’ve learned to love waking up with 17 other individuals. From community meeting, to carpools, teaching, dinner circle, and cooking, the sense of support and camaraderie is always present. Although we’ve only been a group since mid-October, celebrating this holiday break at home in New Jersey seems eerily quiet.
There is always something to do in Hawley. The majority of my time is dedicated to lesson planning for Hawlemont Elementary...Read more
Here at Hawley, we are now in the third month of the education season and are really getting into the swing of things at our schools. We have gotten accustomed to teaching groups environmental education, and various other science subjects; as well as learning how to plan for lessons, and cater to the different learning styles of the many students that we interact with from day to day. The more comfortable that my teaching partner and I get with lesson planning, the more and more excited we are to be teaching our lessons.
In addition to giving lessons...Read more
Today during an activity designed to let us get to know our teaching partners a little better, the question was posed: ‘What one thing would you like your students to take away your time with them?’ I sat there on the ledge overlooking the valley we live our lives in, listening to some of the other answers out there.
There are a million good answers to this question. For me though, the one thing I feel I have to offer them, is the assurance that this world is theirs to explore. The places, the people, the unequivocal beauty, and...Read more
We had our first day of school, on the 15th of November 2016! We geared up in our blue SCA ﬂeeces and shiny name tags to walk into 11 schools collectively at 8 am on Tuesday morning. Two members were selected to be at each school for one to three days at a time, with six members additionally having “conservation placements” with the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Arcadia School, NESEA, Red Gate Farm, or Leave No Trace. As a collective, we will be reaching approximately 3,000 students in Western Massachusetts. Basically, we’ll be keeping busy this education season....Read more
Benjamin West was born and raised in rural Maine. He grew up exploring his home area until he had the desire to explore more. Benjamin joined the SCA when he was 15 years old as a high school crew member and fell in love with what SCA had to offer. After 3 years of working with SCA, he become a member of the Desert Restoration Corps in Southern California. After he finished his position he wanted to be closer to home, and started his positon with the SCA Massachusetts AmeriCorps program....Read more