Turning the clock back two months, I can recall my slight apprehension about working with three interns at the Greater Lovell Land Trust this summer. Hannah I knew and loved from our time together last year, but the other two were complete unknowns. Not only that, but in the past we’ve always had two interns, so what would it mean to throw a third into the mix?
And then I met them and our first hike was a bug-ridden adventure to Otter Rock at Heald and Bradley Ponds Reserve on the evening of the summer solstice. To say the mosquitoes were intense that night would be an understatement, but Dakota, Kelley and Hannah didn’t complain.
In fact, their broad smiles that would accompany them throughout our time together broadcasted their strength as individuals and a combined force. And I knew all would be well.
Each week they joined us for the Tuesday Tramps the GLLT docents take on the properties to learn from each other. And occasionally they had an opportunity to show us the efforts of their hard work, for they built solid benches and platforms, cleared trails, and even built water bars to prevent erosion. They learned about land conservation and spent hours developing an understanding of the inner workings of a land trust.
On Tuesday Tramps the main focus was to develop a better understanding of species that call this place home–both flora and fauna–and all of us shared knowledge and asked questions as we poked along.
At our annual docent training, the interns jumped right into the flower ID workshop,
and worked on their new skills . . .
while studying details.
Their skills grew, but one was especially evident for wherever we went, they found the blueberries first.
They also helped us with the Lovell Rec Summer Camp Nature Program we provided each week. This was our third summer offering said program, and based on last year’s numbers we’d split the group in two–divided mainly by younger and older kids, with a few overlaps due to interest levels. As it turned out, the Rec Program numbers doubled in size. Because I knew she has a talent for working with young children, Hannah became the mainstay of the younger group, while Dakota and Kelley took on the task of leading the older kids who wanted “less talk, more walk.” Speed hikes were the name of their game.
Somehow, the summer passed by much too quickly and though it isn’t over yet, suddenly it dawned on this week and it was their turn to be the featured speakers at our Wednesday night program and then to say something brief at this morning’s Annual Meeting. The triplets, as I fondly referred to them for they had formed a bond that I hope will last a lifetime, had to face the crowd. Wednesday night wasn’t so bad for they had a developed a slideshow and had fun recalling the various aspects of their summer job in front of a friendly crowd, most of whom they knew. But this morning the crowd reached 105. As they stood there, they looked like they were jail mates, but with steady voices they shared pieces of their combined experience.
The moment to shine, however, wasn’t over. This afternoon, they led about twelve people on a walk along the Homestead Trail at Heald and Bradley Ponds Reserve. It’s a trail they knew well, but still they wowed us with their knowledge . . . of ferns,
rattlesnake plantain, and
even the forested landscape.
They looked for the tiniest of details,
and took pleasure in recognizing old tools long ago left behind.
With her hands, Hannah explained how when a Caesar’s mushroom expands, its universal veil is broken and the bottom of the veil forms a cup-shaped volva.
Then she pointed to one nearby that was a couple of days old and all wondered about the variation in shape.
It was our immense pleasure to travel the trail with them this afternoon and be in awe by all that they had learned and could share. One of the fascinating things for me was to hear their hypotheses, for there isn’t an answer to everything we see, but they asked questions and considered various answers.
I know I wasn’t alone in the fact that I didn’t want today’s walk to end, for that meant this team of three would head off toward their next adventures.
I can only hope that some day in the future when I least expect it, I’ll hear my name being whispered in the breeze . . . and I’ll recognize the voices and look up to see the triplets.
If our future is in their hands, we are in the best of hands in the land.
I want to end by sharing a poem written by Hannah. And I should add that writing and reciting poetry was another talent we discovered they have for we host a poetry workshop each summer followed by an open mic night of sharing and once again, their voices were powerful.
One who walks the woods often
Has learned silence is power
Silence allows for you to see
What lies beneath trees of tall green
Dragonflies of iridescent magic flight
Birds perched and ferns unsearched
One that has been rewarded the gift
Teaches others the wonders
Appreciation for what surrounds us
Nature’s beautiful creations.
~ Hannah Rousey
Thank you, Hannah, Dakota, and Kelley. As you travel into the future, I hope you’ll remember friendships formed and paths created this summer. I know I certainly will.
Until our paths cross again . . .