"As my eyes open, I can hear the sounds of the morning: a soft breeze blowing, someone in the kitchen, a goat bleating in the distance. Exiting my tent, I guess the time from the amount of sun shining onto the trees from over the ridge. In the cool morning air, I am ready for another day. For the past three summers, I have worked as a Camp Guide for the environmentally-focused camps at Wind Dance Farm and Earth Education Center in rural West Virginia. When I graduated Conserve School in 2015 (CS10), I strongly felt the need to continue learning and sharing all I could about ecology, conservation, and the natural world at large. The proprietors of Wind Dance, friends of my family, have run camps for 17 years. The natural world is our major focus at camp--each camper keeps a journal throughout the week that is filled with watercolors, field drawings, Henry David Thoreau quotes, and other nature-inspired pieces. Conversations at lunch tables range from mountaintop removal to recycling to wilderness authors. We do stream studies and water quality testing, uproot invasive species, and this year are working on creating a monarch garden filled with native species to attract the butterflies. Several campers who attend have various disabilities, and finding different ways to help each camper connect with nature pushes me to remember all the various tactics used by the teachers at Conserve, and to test them for my own.
It’s so rewarding to see the moment that passion starts for the natural world. I love knowing that I am helping prepare a new generation of conservationists and I’m grateful to Conserve School for helping me find my same spark."