Outdoor Education

You probably know squirrels bury nuts to eat another day. But did you realize other animals store food to help them through lean times? “It blows people away how many animals cache food,” says Kent McFarland, a conservation biologist and cofounder of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. “It’s another strategy to make it through the…

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I was in fifth grade when I first learned about climate change: typical pictures of polar bears huddling, icebergs melting, habitats deteriorating. I was pretty upset by the whole thing, and I didn’t understand why no one else in my class was fazed. To me, it seemed like not only a scientific issue but a…

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1. YOP AT 50 AMC’s Youth Opportunities Program (YOP), an initiative that ensures meaningful outdoor experiences for youth, closed out its 50th year with fall celebrations in New York City and Boston. The approximately 200 people who attended YOP’s New York celebration at the Central Park Boat House on September 20 were treated to gorgeous views…

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Anniversaries have been on a lot of minds at AMC all year. They come in thoughts that are hard to shake, bearing meanings that aren’t always easy to parse. On this page in the previous issue, I was excited to call out the White Mountain National Forest’s centennial celebration while looking ahead, to next spring…

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I wake up before sunrise because I’m so excited. Looking out the window, the line of trees and the hills beyond are still shrouded in Payne’s Gray, Pewter, Burnt Umber, and Prussian Blue. The sky is lit with the palest Cerulean. It’s not yet 6 a.m., and I’m already mixing colors in my head. Up…

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Have you ever met a Ridgerunner while hiking on the Appalachian Trail? For the AT’s entire 60 miles in Connecticut and its first 17 in Massachusetts, these AMC staffers serve as the trail’s eyes and ears: talking to the public about Leave No Trace principles, taking care of blown-down trees, gathering statistics on trail use,…

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It’s a cold, sparklingly clear day in March, and the White Mountains are filled with hikers, skiers, and snowshoers, each leaving distinctive tracks in the piles of late-spring powder. It seems like everyone is chattering about the weather; each group we pass has something to say about the glorious conditions. We’re on our way to…

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If you think fireflies’ flashes are simply random, pretty bursts of light, think again. “They’re not just putting on a fantastic light show for our enjoyment,” says Sara Lewis, a professor of biology at Tufts University and the author of Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies. “Those are the silent love songs of the…

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Since AMC opened its first hut in New Hampshire’s White Mountains in 1888, staff members (a.k.a. “croo”) have had the reputation of being tough and resourceful—perhaps none more so than those who reported to Joe Dodge. Working in Greenleaf Hut or Pinkham Notch under the watchful eye of AMC’s legendary hutmaster in the first half…

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Like many who read this blog, I spend plenty of time in the outdoors, personally and professionally, and my mother frequently expresses concerns for my safety. I always assumed my mom was referring to the inherent risks involved with outdoor activities when she mentioned my safety — until recently. During one of our conversations, she…

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