Dr. Michael Reynolds, professor of kinesiology and leisure studies at Ouachita Baptist University, was selected this year by the Student Conservation Association to lead a high school backcountry crew.
Reynolds spent 11 days at Camp Don Bosco in Carnation, Wash., near Seattle, training to lead his crew. While there, he renewed his Wilderness First Responders Certification and learned to build trails.
Reynolds led a group of six students with the help of a co-leader and spent the month of July in New Hampshire working to conserve the parks in the area. The group moved more than 100 yards of mulch, planted more than 100 day lilies, 25 lilacs and nine wildflower beds. They traveled a total of 5,500 miles in 30 days and worked at 24 different sites.
He also led his students in Leave No Trace training. They had to pack in and out of each location, and after leaving a location they would leave “the site in better environmental health,” Reynolds said.
Along with working, the students had recreation weekends. They visited York Beach in Maine, canoed the Connecticut River, went on a walking tour of Boston’s Freedom Trail and hiked Mount Washington. On the last night of the program, they got the opportunity to meet New Hampshire’s governor, John Lynch.
The SCA is a nonprofit organization that offers conservation internships and summer trail crew opportunities to more than 3,000 people each year. It was founded in 1957 to restore and protect America’s public lands and preserve them for future generations. The program is strictly volunteer, and it aims to give students a chance to give back to a community and learn to respect and care for their environment through hands-on service to the land. For more information about the SCA visit http://www.theSCA.org.
by Elisa Modesto