The pursuit of conservation can become intangible when you are working indoors, attending meetings during some of the most beautiful days of the year. How can writing all these memos and attending all of these meetings possibly relate to conserving the natural world? It was this very train of thought that lead Adirondack Mountain Club’s (ADK) advocacy staff to create a new type of trip, a conservation outing.
We wanted to connect people to the conservation issues that mattered most to them in a way that highlighted the link between physical conservation and the legislative and legal work that goes into making it happen. Making those connections helps people understand the process from concept to implementation and gives them the ability to positively impact that process.
The first paddle was a seven-mile excursion on the Upper Hudson River with a detour up the Opalescent River. ADK’s Executive Director, Neil Woodworth, came along to discuss the Boreas Ponds land purchase, explaining why ADK was taking an all Wilderness stand point and how people could get involved. The lunch time chat, which occurred on a river bank at the conflux of the Hudson and Opalescent Rivers, was also an open forum for people to ask questions about any environmental issues they were concerned with and also an opportunity to ask specific questions about campaigns ADK is involved with.
The second trip was a day paddle through the Essex Chain Lakes just south of Newcomb, NY. Cathy Pedler and I gave several talks along the shores of the lakes about the Essex Chain classification process, the Boreas Ponds land purchase and classification, and the threat to the Adirondacks from invasive species.
Both trips exceeded my expectations for participation and engagement. Both filled up and all attendees were very interested and concerned about the topics discussed. Connecting people to the resource that they are advocating for is a powerful conservation tool and one the Advocacy Office plans to continue using.