A Note to Our Future Corps Members

May 01, 2020
Executive Assistant Kathleen Bezik
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

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A Note to Our Future Corps Members
2019 Conservation Corps member Kathleen Bezik.

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It is hard to put into words exactly what my Trail Conference Conservation Corps experience has meant to me. I believe it is an understatement to say that it is an opportunity that will shape your future.

Every day I wake up with a deep appreciation for the impact this has had on my character and my perspective of life. It is truly a unique experience to not only connect with nature, but also to do it as your job! You will consider the devotion of like-minded individuals, reflect on your past experiences with nature, and realize how much thought and perseverance it takes to care for the things you love. I have never been so immersed in a community of strangers that became so much like family.

There are many things I loved about this experience. To begin with, cabin life is not easy. However, if I could live at the Welch Trail Education Center year-round, I absolutely would! You will truly experience the changes in seasons, and although you will struggle to stay warm at night in cooler temperatures, or wish you had 10 fans in a summer heated cabin, you will have the opportunity to appreciate the life that comes with this change.

The silence of nature has a whole different meaning to me now. I will never forget the echoing sounds of spring peepers in the night. For the month of June, I slept outside in my tent. Thunderstorms became a lot louder, and heavy rain blocked out my fear of animals in the night. It wasn’t until July, after hearing grunting and heavy steps outside my tent, that I decided I had endured the hard platforms enough. (A sleeping pad is HIGHLY recommended.) Days later, mama and two baby bears reminded me exactly where I had laid down my tent.

The seasons will bring a fascination and intuition to your surroundings. You may notice how August is the month of mushrooms or how when you think the foliage is on its way out, flowers will pop up in September. It can be quite comforting to feel the life around you. Take this in. It could be an experience that becomes a glimpse into your future.

The work will be difficult. The physical labor can feel arduous. But remember, it will be worth it. You have the opportunity to make an impact on the environment; those you come into contact with and help educate will create a ripple effect for future generations. In that, there is no doubt this opportunity will be rewarding. I imagine no greater feeling than looking back on all the challenges you have faced to build a trail, survey a lake, or remove invasive species, knowing that park will be enjoyed for decades by people from all walks of life. Your potential is endless. I encourage you to share your passion with those around you and to follow this journey exactly where your heart leads you!

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