Driving in as the plains meet the mountains, it’s all familiar… the view through my windshield and butterflies felt in my stomach as I approach my second home. I have enjoyed all my positions at Philmont, each summer and position offering new challenges, new friends and new knowledge. In our line of work in the Conservation Department, we strive to educate through example, as our motto portrays: “With right, comes responsibility.”
Many tasks await a Conservation staff member for their 90-day contract:
- educate Scouts about conservation and provide leadership for youth backpacking treks
- design, construct and maintain 300 miles of hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking trail (photo credit: Doyle Maurer)
- maintain over 2,500 backcountry campsite features such as latrines, fire rings, sumps and bear cables
- build best use practices for sustainability of an audience that fluctuates from 30,000 to 300
- gather data points with GPS units about structures, campsites, fences and more to produce in-house maps of our 137,000 acre property and neighboring lands (that’s between a staff of 5 people!)
- use cultural, chemical, mechanical and biological controls to control and eradicate invasive weed populations, in addition to monitoring and educating Scouts about the detriment Invasive Plants pose to our region and the world
I am fortunate to work with a dedicated staff of 100 in Conservation that fall within a larger pool of 1,000+ total summer staff (2014 summer all-staff photo credit: Bryan Hayek), who I also look forward to collaborate and create alongside.
I am confident that the message of responsibility toward environment, ourselves and future generations will ring loud and clear this season.
This is just a glimpse into what the summer holds ahead, even so, the view is pretty good from here.