Starting Young Wilderness Advocates for Life
Release Date: Oct 4, 2011
Rebecca A. Garcia
Clovis, CA – After a nearly eight hour drive from their school in Los Olivos, CA, a group of High School volunteers and their teacher arrived at Clover Meadow ready to volunteer in the Ansel Adams wilderness from Sept 16 to 20.
The group spent the night at Clover Meadow - hiked in at the Fernandez Trailhead approximately 2.5 hours, taking the Walton Trail into the wilderness and crossing Madera Creek with John Glenn, Sierra National Forest Wilderness Volunteer as their guide.
Glenn is one of the primary reasons why the Midland High School-Fire Crew Instructor, Ben Munger requested and helped to coordinate this learning opportunity for the students. According to Munger, there are few better when it comes to trail work and Glenn is a great teacher.
There were five students on the trip - three sophomores and two juniors. The two juniors had the opportunity to come out the year prior and work on the same trail. On this trip, the juniors were able to broaden their experience by teaching the younger students how to use the saw and other tools, always emphasizing safety.
"The boys all work like beavers, both figuratively and literally," said Glenn. They completely cleared the section of the Timber Creek trail between the Lillian Loop trail and the Granite Creek crossing. There were lots of "big train wrecks" with multiple large trees lying full length in the trail.
Much of the trail clearing involved a conversation between the students and Glenn. The air swirled with ideas and Glenn would interject, "That’s a great idea, but have you considered this." This interjection would be met with a flurry of energy and imaginings. The student’s were clearly striving to meet expectations, both Glenn’s and their own. These conversations were full of safety awareness, aesthetic considerations of the trail, long-term maintenance, level of exertion needed and risk versus likelihood of success.
It could be difficult to try and argue the cost effectiveness for taking students out to do trailwork given the amount of paperwork involved. But it is undeniable that these kids have had an experience that will make them wilderness advocates for life and they will carry that with them everywhere they go. We need to start reaching out to our youth, said Glenn.
Volunteer extraordinaire, Mr. John Glenn works his saw dubbed "Xena" during a trail clearing trip into the Ansel Adams Wilderness with Midland High School student volunteers.
The Midland High School Fire Crew, uses a downed log as a pivot point in clearing a trail of heavy trees and debris from storms last winter, while doing volunteer trail work in the Ansel Adams Wilderness.