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Student Conservation Association New Hampshire Corps members Ambika Baraily and Saraswoti Dhimal of Manchester work on a trail on Mount Kearsarge last week. (COURTESY)

Cleaning up

Teens take to the trails to clean up Mount Kearsarge

WILMOT — A group of teenagers from around the state have been patroling the high grounds of Mount Kearsarge, doing needed trail maintenance while learning skills and values that will aid them as adults.

They are members of the Student Conservation Association, an organization dedicated to protecting and restoring national parks, marine sanctuaries, cultural landmarks and community green spaces in all 50 states.

The SCA's mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.Earlier this year, the N.H. corps sent 30 student members to Bear Brook State Park in January. In late April, members began conservation work throughout the state.

For the past two weeks, a nine-member team has been working on Mount Kearsarge. They've been clearing brush from the paths, making sure the drainage ditches stay clean, and generally making sure the trails are in good shape.

"A lot of what we've been doing is closing off paths that hikers have made leading off the trails," said SCA member Max Cooper of Keene.

And in the process, "we pretty much got soaked a few times (by rain)," said Darin Radatz, one of the program coordinators, bringing a laugh from the students.

The intended lessons of the program were apparently learned.

"It's been lots of fun. We learn leadership by picking our leaders every day, and we share the chores and the cooking of dinners," said Ambika Baraily of Manchester."You learn to work within a system of people," said Tyler Pitts of Manchester.

"Parts of it seem like summer vacation, but it's really important work," said Cooper.


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