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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - New Milford, CT USA

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New Milford, CT USA
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Tyler0409



Registered: December 2021
City/Town/Province: New Milford
Posts: 1
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I was 15 when I went on my first hike. My hometown of New Milford is located in the Housatonic Valley, where mountains, rivers, and forests converge to create a beautiful natural backdrop. However, I did not decide to start hiking the trails of New Milford until the isolation of COVID began to take its toll on me; I was simply expecting to pass a few hours each week by getting outside. Instead, I found a deep passion that would begin to shape my future.
On my first hike, Tower Trail at Mt. Tom State Park, I was joined by my mom, dad, and sister. We were completely unprepared for the hot, sticky air that slowed our breathing and caused beads of sweat to bubble on our foreheads as we walked. I worried that the mountainous trail would be too much to handle. Yet, as we hiked, the physical strain started to fade away. Instead, I began to notice the trees, sideways trees growing out of rocks, fallen trees creating a web in the sky. When we reached the end of the trail, I felt an inner peace that I had never experienced.
From this point on, I was hooked. With my dad by my side, I traveled across Connecticut and New York, traversing the terrain of the Northeast. The mighty Appalachian mountains have left their mark on the geological ecosystem here; the lower mountain ranges and lush valleys that we journeyed through all traced back to their great peaks. As we hiked the Lake Waramaug Loop, and the Candlewood Trail, I shared with my dad my desire to take my newfound love of nature to the next level.
My dads encouragement motivated me to seek out the Northwestern Connecticut Land Conservancy, a local land conservancy in New Milford dedicated to protecting the natural land in Connecticut, where I became a trail steward for the James Morrissey Family Nature Preserve and Torys Cave Trails. Simple tasks such as maintaining access to the only marble cave in Connecticut and monitoring protected areas for specific animal species deepened my knowledge of the history of the region. I was also in charge of making sure that the trails are walkable and safe, which entails flattening the soil and removing the roots that could prove dangerous. As time went by, I came to know these trails like the back of my hand and gained confidence in my ability as a steward.
As my connection to nature grew, I joined the Mallory Preserve Trail crew that was working on a project in the mountains of Sherman, Connecticut. From my mentors on the trail, I learned that back in the Ice Age, the Northeast was home to giant glaciers that manipulated the landscape, which is why Sherman is so rocky and rugged today. They taught me about which types of animals are native to the area and we practiced bird calls for the White-Breasted Nuthatch and the Eastern Wood Pewee. As we conversed, we worked towards our goal: making the paths accessible to visitors without leaving a trace. The importance of respecting the natural environment and leaving it undisturbed is an essential lesson I learned from this trail crew, one that motivates me to protect our planet. When we finished, I stood back to admire our work and realize that it would help people explore nature for years to come, long after I was gone. Then, I saw clearly that environmentalism is something that can be more than a hobby, it is possible to turn my passion into a lifelong mission.
Hiking allowed me to get out of my own head and immerse myself in the hidden beauties that existed in my own backyard. But even better than that, it has changed my life and shifted my perspective. Meeting new people, taking advantage of the beauty that is around me, and educating myself about its value has inspired me to take my interest to the next level. As I move on to college and beyond, I will continue exploring the beauty of our natural world while deepening my knowledge of it through a career in environmental engineering.
Date: December 31, 2021 Views: 622 File size: 239.1kb, 1366.2kb : 617 x 736
Hours Volunteered: 80
Volunteers: 2
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 49
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 66
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 25
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