Looking for some inspiration? Chat with a member of the Front Range Stewardship Strike Team!
If you are looking for some inspiration about the future, and even about the present, the words of wisdom and wonder from the Front Range Stewardship Strike Team will surely do the trick!
The Stewardship Strike Team is a joint venture between Mile High Youth Corps, the US Forest Service, and the National Forest Foundation (NFF). Working on trails throughout the Colorado Front Range, the team consists of 9 members, two of which are co-leaders, and is overseen by both Mile High Youth Corps staff and US Forest Service partner Glen Ryan. NFF interviewed some of the crew to find out what it’s like to be a Strike Team member, what's been fun, what's been challenging, and how the 2021 experience is influencing their career paths.
What was your motivation for being a member of the Front Range Trail Stewardship Strike Team?
Carrie: “The big thing for me was the opportunity to talk with folks in the industry and understand, hey, how did you get to where you are and what do I need to be doing to be successful and be able to get there as well.”
Terrell: “I enjoy giving back to the community and want to do what I could. I thought, ‘I could use the scholarship and this could be fun. I could learn a lot of interesting things about the community, help out Colorado as a state, and really help out with nature."'
So far, has this season’s experience aligned with or changed your career path goals?
Daniel: "I think it's aligned pretty well, maybe changed the timeline. If fire season were to come around and I didn't have a job yet with wildland firefighting I would be 100% willing to do trails for a little bit."
Isabel: "Most of my life I’ve been a visual artist and on that path, but I think this has empowered me to start taking my life in a different direction. It has aligned me to some different areas that I didn't know I wanted to pursue, especially getting people more knowledgeable about how to exist in their natural world in a sustainable way and get them more connected and more at ease."
Carrie: "I’m coming to appreciate trail work a whole lot more. I hadn’t really thought of that as something I could have a career in because there aren’t many postings for permanent trail crew positions on USAjobs. But I’m talking more with USFS folks that have made this a career and I’m understanding, hey, I can make this a career. I don’t have to sit inside all day."
Bailey: "My original career path in life was to do something with business. I'm thinking I’ll either go back to school for a degree in this field or go to the Forest Service and get a job as a Ranger. It definitely sent my career in a completely opposite direction."
Lex: "I'm kind of in the middle of a career path change. I currently go to school at Central Michigan University for outdoor recreation. The original intent was to go into the National Parks and end up being a park director. I'm in transition of thinking that the Forest Service would be a better fit for me."
What’s something super fun/cool you are excited about as a member of the Strike Team for 2021?
Daniel: "I'm excited for more hands-on experience with other Forest Service members. I know there's a ton of people in the Forest Service with so much wisdom and knowledge to give that I would love to meet them and pick their brain about random topics."
Terrell: "Seeing different animals and different trails. The physical impact on my body to really make me stronger, to put me in a better position as a human being, and to give me more knowledge. Basically have me be better for myself and the environment."
Isabel: "I really hope it gets hot enough we can take showers and it's not just cold all the time. That would be so nice."
What words of wisdom do you have for visitors to National Forest areas in Colorado?
Terrell: "Always be prepared for adverse weather and stay on trails and don't mess with the wildlife too much, just observe from a distance and let the animals be and do their thing."
Marco: "Stay on the trail. Social trails can cause a lot of damage to the ecosystem. Read all the information signs, you know there's usually tips on what to bring. Have an emergency blanket in case you get lost."
Bailey : "Probably preparedness is the biggest thing. Wear proper shoes, bring water. If you're not prepared it's not gonna be a fun time for you!"
Isabel: "If you have a dog and you have dog poop bags, don't leave the dog poop bags on the trail or what is the point of putting the poop in the poop bag?! You're not gonna pick it up when you go back, nobody does because they're all over. Also, understand when you go out there, there's a lot of different aspects to be respecting. The trail itself, nature itself, but also access to that trail and the way that you are promoting access to that trail."
Daniel: "Be careful of weather and altitude. If you’re from out of state, be careful the altitude will get you!"
Carrie: "Don't go with an expectation for anything, just keep an open mind and listen and observe and be present."
Lex: "Stay on the trail, protect it as if it was your own land or your own work. Whatever catches your eye, investigate it. If you see a pretty flower, go look at it, take a picture, go home, and look it up."
The Front Range Trail Stewardship Strike Team is made possible because of generous support from the VF Foundation, USDA Forest Service, and other donors.