At the River Walk’s 25th anniversary celebration on September 8th, Kevin Pieropan, our River Walk apprentice delivered this wonderful speech:
For the last 2 and ½ years, I’ve been the working on the River Walk–
I am now the lead apprentice.
I work by myself and as a crew chief leading others.
The first time I worked here,
It was actually for a community service obligation.
Ryan was the site manager then and he showed me the ropes.
When I started, I never thought this would be something I would be interested in.
Or that it would turn into a job opportunity.
Until River Walk, doing something for the community wasn’t really a priority to me
I’ve always worked on the farm at home–
and once a year on EarthDay I would pick up the trash along the side of the road.
But I had never helped the community before that required this kind of commitment.
Will believed in me– gave me the chance,
He set a standard for me to follow–
and helped me get my priorities straight.
At first I worked alone on the river walk,
I was responsible for taking caring of the site–
Working by myself gave me a sense of ownership–
Will and Rachel rely on me to keep the trail in shape.
Every winter storm – and we’ve had quite a few—
It’s my job to check for storm damage and safety hazards
Also to make sure everything is restored properly and made safe for visitors.
It gave me drive and ambition to work,
Not mess around or leave early–
But to make the best use of my time
I really applied myself like I never did before–
And of course looking at the trail at the end of the day is a reward in itself.
Eventually, I was joined by Kat and then given the responsibility to be a crew chief
When you work with a crew,
there are many people with different personalities and different skills,
you have to adapt and make it the best possible experience for them
I had always worked with animals and thought that was my passion–
I never thought I would be interested in plants until
I started working and botanizing with Heather.
Just be working in the rain garden over there–
I have learned about the different types of ferns and asters.
I can identify several trees by their bark, and the majority of native plants along the River Walk.
The way that Heather taught me made this information stick for good
I like helping out the community–
Being able to say I take care of the River Walk-
Knowing it’s on my shoulders to maintain.
I’ve learned that many people don’t know how a trail like this can exist in the center of town.
I like telling people about it because there is no other trail like it.
I’m proud to be a part of the Greenagers.
It’s an amazing organization that’s going to do amazing things in the future.
And as for me,
I’m studying at Berkshire Community College to major in environmental science.
This never would have been possible if it wasn’t for
Rachel, Will, Heather, Cecily and my family.
I cant thank them enough.