As both afternoon rainstorms and RMNP visitors increase in frequency, all signs are pointing to one thing: summer. For the Rocky Mountain Conservancy, the beginning of summer kicks off the Conservation Corps program and welcomes crews of inspired, motivated young adults to a season of hard work, learning, and lots of fun. These young people are ready to wander into the woods with their curiosity and enthusiasm, wielding Pulaskis (or crosscuts, or shovels, or something of that ilk) to complete trail maintenance and conservation restoration projects in Rocky and in the neighboring Arapaho and Roosevelt national forests.
A few weeks ago, the Corps’ seven crew leaders congregated at the Field Institute in Estes Park for crew-leader orientation, where they had a busy week of training, lessons, team-building activities, and a tour of Rocky Mountain National Park. They were also treated to discussions with Conservancy Executive Director Estee Rivera, and board member and local history enthusiast Walt Borneman. For some, the week also included overcoming a deep fear of driving a 15-passenger bus.
When the crew leaders finally separated and made their way to their respective project locations with their brains and cars filled to the brim, it may just be that the main takeaway from the week was the companionship they found in one another.
“It’s really cool to watch strangers become friends,” noted Field Coordinator Nathan Morrow as he reflected on the past week.
Knowing friendships will very soon be blossoming on each crew – often without any understanding of their significance or duration – is enough for all of us to be through-the-roof giddy. For so many unexpecting young people to stumble into what will hopefully be one of the best summers of their life, we cannot wait.
Until next time,