Northern Forest Explorers: Reflections on Year One

By Roger Poor

Roger Poor, NFCT Youth Program Director offers a “you feel like you’re there” summary of the 2011 Northern Forest Explorers season.

“T minus one month and counting. Another last minute trip to the Adirondacks, gotta hit up Long Lake, Saranac and Tupper Schools. Eval forms need to be finished up and copies made, interns showing up in two weeks, gotta work with Walter and finalize who’s doing what for training, have to bug  Kate to order the cameras, hope the enviro kit shows up in time, need to call both Colebrook and Groveton elementary schools one more time before they disappear for the summer, need to confirm the Umbagog /Androscoggin rosters with great Glen so they can get gear lists out, call Lori and be sure Mississquoi roster is complete, looks like both of those trips could max out, need to fill a couple of seats on first Clyde and Conn trips, then finish the Board report and prep for a committee call, then be sure I’m caught up on all the other trip rosters. Wish time would wait at least once for someone.

Now off to Highgate and first week of intern training, finally get to spend almost two weeks in a tent myself and boy this is great! Wish I could spend the whole summer in a camp like this! Tough life being out in the woods in the Adirondacks or the Allagash. And what an awesome intern crew! Managed to get through my presentations on conflict management, Wilderness First Responder First Aid Review, and ——–, then stay awake for a classroom session and quiz on invasive species courtesy of the Misssissquoi National Wildlife Refuge. Best of all: working the butts off my two interns on the Winooski River with whitewater training, sitting on the bank and drilling them on braces, ferries, eddy turns to the point where they could actually hold their position over a fixed point on the bottom while paddling backwards in fast water without breaking.

Then the interns disappear and the first two trips are out of the blocks! Did they all show up? Are they having fun? Is the curriculum working? What about the water quality tests? Are they keeping their journals/ No cell coveragenocellcoveragenocellcoverage then “Hello Hi Roger, yes, yes, no, yes, everything’s going well! Yes, they ARE having fun…”

Followed by ten more trips through July and into August and the last one my own favorite, The West Branch of the Penobscot and it’s over. Except for updating all the contact notes, entering data, reviewing evals, figuring out what actually happened so quickly,  updating the curriculum, building new partnerships, putting the story together, mapping out next year, prepping for a board meeting, setting up new programs, writing reports,  and reviewing journals written by participants that make this all so very very worthwhile….

Now, on to the next season!”