Through the heat, humidity, thunderstorms, and lightning, local youth, ages 15-20, worked to rebuild stonewalls, cut and clear trails, and construct bog bridges on some of the premier cultural and conservation sites in Berkshire and Columbia County. It was not an easy summer to work in the out of doors, the heat index regularly climbed above 90 degrees and when it was cooler, torrential rains resulted in flood advisory warnings. Despite this, local teenagers got the opportunity to work on local properties, developing a sense of place, a sense of identity, and a better understanding of what makes their home unique.
At Jacob’s Pillow, Arrowhead, and the Bidwell House, crews spent days disassembling and reconstructing old stone walls. Trained by Neil Rippingale, a master stonemason from Scotland, and Greenagers’ own Jake Hines, the crews moved many tons of material, rebuilding structures that were falling over, and turning them into massive walls that will please the eye and hold back the earth for decades to come.
The lion’s share of the summer work was spent building trails. Teens learned to bench cut, assemble bog bridges, clear corridors, and soil pit at the following locations: BNRC’s “The Boulders”, Trustees’ “McLennan Preserve”, CLC’s “Overmountain Conservation Area”, the Town of Austerlitz’s “Town Park”, the Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon, Pittsfield’s “Springside Park”, the Stanton Farm, the Town of Great Barrington’s “McAllister Wildlife Preserve”, the Myrin Preserve, the Community Health Programs’ “Loop Trail”, and Chesterwood. Specialty projects included bridge construction at Laurel Hill’s “Mary Flynn Trail” and riverbank stabilization at GBLC’s “River Walk”.
Greenagers also learned about and eradicated invasive species at Pittsfield’s “Burbank Park”, Alan Devoe Bird Club’s “Wilson M. Powell Willdife Sanctuary”, and the Rockwell Museum. Bittersweet, honeysuckle, goutweed, barberry, hardy kiwi, and water chestnut met their demise thanks to teenagers getting an education in biodiversity and taking a hands on approach to the subject.
The season rounded out with the Appalachian Trail Crew. This group, despite experiencing multiple flash floods at their campsite, rerouted a quarter mile of the Appalachian Trail in Beartown State Forest and built a 40 step stone staircase at Surdan Mountain in Sharon CT.