Always wondered what it would be like to take a Volunteer Vacation? Now is the time to find out what everyone is talking about. These crews are a great way to visit an amazing place while contributing to the conservation efforts of the Parks or National Forests.
Check out the full list of crews on the AMC Trails Volunteers website. Find a crew that works for you and register today!
Here we are, assembled, signed on, and ready to rock the trails of Connecticut and Massachusetts. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present AMC's Berkshire Trails Staff 2010. Again, we are lucky and blessed to have a talented squad ready to patrol and work on the trails this year. The Ridgerunners will be out on the Appalachian Trail in CT and a bit of MA, mitigating the impacts of high use through outreach and education, living on the trail and keeping it in good shape. The Berkshire Teen Trail Crew Leaders will be leading teens, 15-19, on one to three week backcountry trail crews throughout the region, rolling rocks, building staircases and drainages, and having a blast. "Leave No Tracey" Slaughter and "Johnny G the Milkman" Goepel are the program veterans stepping into leadership roles this season. We've got another ambitious summer planned, with the goal of leaving these trails better than we found them, making friends and memories in the process. Let's do this.
Regional Trails Coordinator
It's my third Summer in this full time role, and having come from a long line of seasonal dream jobs including Ridgerunning, Caretaking, and Trail Crew Leading in gorgeous locales in Vermont, New Hampshire, The Berkshires, and Yosemite National Park, I've got to say this is the dream job to rule them all. It's been superlatively fulfilling to work with all the talented and energized staff that have come through the program, especially those who have come back for multiple seasons and who have helped take this program to new heights. Perhaps above all, rolling rocks with, cooking burrito feasts with, and high fiving the 100+ teenagers that over the last two years have given 5,000 volunteer hours to the AT and other trails, setting countless rock steps and building dozens of bomber drainages, has been satisfying and inspiring work that I am proud of and motivates me to continue to give all I can to this program and its staff. In my spare time, I like constructing long-winded adjective-laden sentences and procuring an unwieldy collection of records which I share with a handful of folks on my community radio show. I'm looking forward to another great year!
Well, how do? My name is Tracey and I come from the Old Line state. I am happily returning for a second season with the AMC in the Berkshires, stepping into the role of Field Coordinator after a season as Teen Trail Crew Leader.
I ’ve had a year-long intermission between these gigs and plenty in-between to keep me hopping. Last year instead of working on the
When not tromping through the woods, I’m liable to stomp to the tune of banjos and washboards, cruise blissfully around on my jalopy of a tag-sale 10-speed, and get carried away by the words of a good book. Close to my heart are scuffed wooden floors, old time music, and tales of mountain living. I am looking forward to spending more time in these beautiful
Ridgerunner Field Coordinator
This will be my third season working with the AMC's ridgerunner program. I've had incredible experiences ridgerunning for the past two summers and am stoked to come back this year and take it to another level! Born and raised in Maryland, I'm finishing up my senior year studying Geosciences at Frostburg University, nestled in the Allegheny highlands. I enjoy anything dealing with the outdoors, playing music, and zymurgy. I hope to see you all out on the trails this summer for another great season in the woods!
Trail Crew Leader
I’m a native of western mass and I am extremely excited to be finally hitting the trails in my home state. My love for the outdoors began as a child taking long walks with my grandfather in the forest picking wild mushrooms. My adventurous spirit grew as I got older and I headed out west. This is where I began my love for trail work and conservation, in 2005 working with the Western Colorado Conservation Corps. I have also worked with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) leading high school trail crews in California, New Hampshire, and Georgia. When I’m not on the trail I spend my time knitting, running, and when the weather is right, I can be found with my fly rod in hand. This will be my first time working with the AMC and I couldn’t be happier to be part of the Berkshire team. Get ready all you “Rockers” out there, time to get our grunt on and move some rocks!
Hey everyone, I’m Jeffrey. After thru-hiking the A.T. in 2004, and working as a backcountry caretaker for the AMC in the Whites in 2007, I’m excited to be back on the trail this season as a ridgerunner in the Berkshires. I can honestly say that I found working for the AMC previously to be my most meaningful and enjoyable employment to date. The opportunity to work a full season in the beautiful outdoors in a capacity to work towards its conservation is too good to be true.
As a ridgerunner I’m looking forward to connecting with hikers from all different walks of life, having interesting conversations, and just sharing the experience of time well spent in a tranquil and uplifting setting.
Trail Crew Leader
Hey! I grew up in Northwest Connecticut but I just finished my junior year at Keene State College in New Hampshire. I am majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Biology. I love hiking, camping and being outdoors! Last summer I spent some time volunteering in Acadia National Park in Maine doing trail work. I had a lot of fun and can’t wait to spend this summer out in the woods!
Hi, I'm Dan. I'm psyched to be a Ridgerunner this summer!
I’m a Bio nerd, and if you ever catch me not botanizing,
or talking someone’s ear off about botanizing, then you might find me hiking, doing trail work, Nordic skiing, playing soccer, traveling, or eating. Botanists have all the anthers!
Anyways, I love lightweight backpacking and making my own gear, although I don’t always use the gear I make. I’ve made countless denatured alcohol stoves, for example. I really think this summer of Ridgerunning will be a unique opportunity to refine these skills because you have time between shifts to learn from your experience. I especially look forward to working with a team of other experienced hikers who might teach me a trick or two!
Life is always better when a tent is your home. See you on the trail.
Trail Crew LeaderRachel Goff
Hey guys! My name is Rachel and I’m studying English and environmental education at Colby College in Maine. I’m counting down the days until I’m done with finals and can begin my first summer working with the AMC in the Berkshires! I look forward to learning about ridgerunning, doing some trail work, and spending as much time as possible outside. Likes: hiking, Motown music, creative writing, and Ultimate Frisbee. Dislikes: mushrooms. See you this summer!
Hi everybody. This will be my first year with the AMC but just another awesome experience hiking the trail. I am really looking forward to a summer outdoors drawing flora and fauna, reading, and interacting with other hiking enthusiasts. My longest experience on the trail to date is a six week journey on and around the AT in Virginia but I have been hiking, camping and meandering on foot since before I could talk. The Ridge runner position is basically my dream job. So now I've got a new pair of boots and I am ready to puts some miles on em. See you all out there!
My name is Luke, as I write this I’m procrastinating working on calculus, in the process of wrapping up my second year here at the
On the Help Out
This year we have more crews than ever, and so we needed more staff than ever. Several members of the AMC Berkshire Trails family stepped forward to help out.
Brian was a crew leader back in '08, and in the years since has spent most of his time in Honduras teaching health to local school children. He couldn't make it back for the full season this year, but he came in the clutch to lead four consecutive weeks of crew in July and August. We are grateful to have his patience, work ethic, and commitment to our youth participants back in the program.
One of our best participants from the past two years, Stephen joins us this year as a leader for two weeks. Hailing from the great New York City, where you may find him longboarding or cruising on his fixed-gear bike on his days off before he departs for the University of Michigan in the fall to study engineering.
Olivia comes to us most recently from Utah, where she spent the winter season skiing and working around Park City. She's backpacked extensively in the Northwest, where she went to college, the desert Southwest, and other glorious mountain locals throughout the country. She is a close friend of Katherine, '09 Crew Leader, and her upbeat attitude and outdoor leadership skills have been invaluable on the three weeks of crew she is leading with us this year.
Leave No Trace Trainer
Here are a few photos from around Pinkham Notch Visitors Center today. Looks more like a snowy January day. It was just 3 days ago we were enjoying a cloudless sky and 80 degree temps. Will spring ever come?
These tent platforms are used to house the AMC Camp Dodge staff during the summer season. Each platform has a canvas tent, bed, book shelf and electricity. With a bit of decorating the interior this space is called home to our 12
We have a number of construction projects, grounds maintenance, and garden work at Dodge. We will be chipping away at these projects during the season and additional help is welcomed.
Thu., Apr. 22 This Earth Day, learn about a volunteer opportunity where you can help the environment, meet amazing people, and experience a few days working in the outdoors. Danielle Piscatelli, a long time trail crew volunteer, will share her many experiences doing trailwork across the U.S. and in Russia, including the Great Baikal Trail in Siberia, Mount Baker National Forest in Washington State, Boise National Forest in Idaho, Cross Vermont Trail in Vermont, and the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Maine. You'll learn about what trailwork is, why it's important, who does it - and why you should try it, too!
Doors open at 6:15p.m, potluck dinner starts at 6:30p.m., slideshow at 7:00p.m. AMC Auditorium,
Doors open at 6:15p.m, potluck dinner starts at 6:30p.m., slideshow at 7:00p.m. AMC Auditorium,
Many travel to St. John in the USVI to enjoy the sun, the surf, the sand, the hiking, snorkeling, the idyllic weather and stunning scenery, but for 15 AMCers, their week on the island in March was all of that and more. What more could you ask for from an island vacation? Well, how about the camaraderie of a hard-working trail crew, the savory tastes of well-earned meals like crepes and fajitas, cooked with love by some new friends, or the satisfaction of taking 300 yards of the island’s most popular trail and transforming it from an eroded problem area to a well-graded masterpiece worthy of its ocean-side views? Yes, for AMC’s first St. John Volunteer Trail Crew in decades, I dare say we took the time-honored island vacation and improved upon it. I know from my perspective as leader, I would much rather the experience of getting to know a group of like-minded folks spanning sixty years of age and the rewards of working together as a team to, say, laying in a spa lathered in some cucumber spread. I’d take Mike and Todd’s fajitas at camp and the enthusiasm with which they were prepared over a 50 dollar steak in Cruz Bay any day.
Following is testimonials from our tremendous group. Hopefully this reminiscing will get us through to next year when I know many of us will be eager to do it again!
-Matt Moore, Crew Leader, Great Barrington, MA
This crew went above and beyond my expectations, as this group worked incredibly well together to build quality trails while also having a blast. Our crew was quite diverse; we had members ranging 60 years of age, seasoned trail workers to fresh faces. However, this crew only affirmed the notion that people of all different ages and experience levels can make positive impacts on the trails if they put the time and effort. It’s hard to pick out specific highlights from such a fantastic crew, but here it goes:
Christian’s crepes, Cathy’s peanut sauce, and Sully’s quesadillas (this crew took campground cooking to a whole new level).
Exploring Drunk Bay: never before had a seen people made out of coral!
Completing a crazy long section of trail
Exploring incredible ruins and enjoying fantastic views after Jeff drove the 15-passenger van up a hill no 15-passenger van would want to drive up
The often scary but fascinating wildlife
Our fabulously eccentric, entertaining, hard-working, fun-loving crew!
-Leah Demetri, Crew Leader, Stanford, CA
I have never had so much enjoyment shoveling dirt and cutting stumps, while at the same time looking at some of the finest scenery in the world. The swimming and snorkeling was amazing in the warm blue/green water. Mealtime was a lot of fun everybody cooking their favorites and finding the out the best method for cooking. If we had not worked so hard we all would have gained a few pounds!
Remember……same time, same place next year.
-Al Blankenship, Dunnellon, FL
The sun was hot. The water was a shimmering, iridescent blue. The work was hard. But the result was very satisfying. We all took great pride in the 1/4 mile or so of flat, wide trail that we had spent the week reconstructing.
The greatest pleasure was the people. It was a diverse and interesting group. (60 years separated the youngest from the oldest.) But we worked well as a team and enjoyed each others company in the off-hours. And then our leaders - Matt provided excellent, soft spoken leadership and Leah showed great maturity. (It was a shock to learn that she was a mere college freshman.) Last, but not least, our host, Jeff. He was always considerate, thoughtful as well as being an entertaining teacher. He taught us a lot about St John's history, geology, flora and fauna.
I came with high expectations for the week. My expectations were greatly exceeded.
-Jonathan Mercier, Hartford, CT
before and after
The weather was awesome!!! Besides the weather, Jeff went above and beyond my personal expectations. He doubled as a tour guide especially when he made sure that we saw the culture of St. John. The whole crew worked hard as a team to make sure that everyone enjoyed themselves. It was a pleasure to work on the trails and be able to accomplish this goal. I look forward to being able to go on another volunteer trip to St. John through the AMC in the future. It was a blast, the friends that I met were great, life is good, and I look forward to next year!!!
-Todd Flagg, Naples, ME
-Becky Blumenthal, Brooklyn, NY
In the midst of blue sky, blue and turquoise ocean, lush plants of St. John's Island, a glorious team of joyous companions attended to the creation of a new trail. Team members from both the United States and Canada became a strong community upon meeting one another and worked and played together harmoniously. The shared tasks both on the trail and sustaining the camp site and preparing meals was delightful. The embrace of our leaders, Matt, Leah, and Jeff, was always affirmative with great directions in learning new skills for trail construction. The experience was fabulous in every aspect and will remain a very special treasure and memory in my life.
April 9th. A group of us got together to tear out the sod and start roto-tilloing and plucking rocks. Special thanks to George, Pat, Ben, and Lesley for spending a rainy Friday with me in the garden. The garden, about 50 feet x 60 feet will need lots of work before we can plant.
This has been an ongoing project, planning for the garden, setting aside resources and volunteer effort. The garden (we hope) will produce supplemental food for the staff and volunteers at
Within the next few weeks we will be doing more tilling and then preparing rows for planting early season stuff. Thanks to a generous donation by Johnny’s Selected Seeds we have a great variety of produce to plant in our garden for the 2010 season.
As the season goes on we will need volunteers to help pick rocks, weed, water and many other tasks. We would also accept donations for compost or organic fertilizers. So all of you Trails Volunteers, next time you are at Dodge lend a hand for a ½ hour or so in the garden. It will take all of us chipping in to make this a successful project.