Planning for Northest Begins in Vermont
April 2013: On April 21, the Wilderness50 Local Events Committee sponsored the first multi-state meeting for planning 50th anniversary local events. Volunteers from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York gathered in Springfield, Vermont, for a brainstorming meeting that lasted from a pot luck lunch through the afternoon. Forest Service staffers representing New England's two national forests (the Green Mountain and the White Mountain) were present. Participants who had previously been only minimally engaged in activities came away from the meeting inspired in various ways. First of all, it was reassuring to meet their counterparts in other states--and to know they are not in this alone but would have support from others with similar goals and plans. And they got new exciting ideas after hearing what others were already planning. And they could meet others with whom they themselves would be working in their own state. From the Springfield gathering, new ideas and plans emerged--such as for specific outings to take place next year, both in wilderness areas and outside of wilderness. Participants highlighted novel ways to publicize New England's wilderness areas--which are not particularly well known. What a great opportunity to work with the federal agencies (in that area mainly the Forest Service and the Fish & Wildlife Service) for public education!
Plans underway due to this meeting include:
- Dartmouth University Outings Club plans major educational themes for next year's outings into the wild.
- The director of a Cape Cod museum plans exhibits and a lecture series next year focused on the role of wilderness in American culture.
- Participants will explore education around broad regional issues--like protected wildlife corridors.