Category Archives: Uncategorized

Biting the Hand that Feeds by Field Team Member Keva Pariyar

Any amount of time spent outdoors will land even the most prepared with a couple bug bites. The summer brings with it mosquitos, black flies, and all the flies named after mammals with cloven-hooves (deer, horse, and moose). Annoying, painful, and itchy as they are, I would like to think that there is a point to the insects that bite so liberally. Because I am a realist, not an optimist, I decided to research the little buggers in the hope that I would get some answers as to why they bite and the importance of them.

Since most people are bothered by mosquitos and the like, there isn’t much flattering research out there. Most of it focuses on how to control populations without harming other organisms within the ecosystem, but I did scrounge up a few facts. Many people know it is only the females that bite to obtain blood. This blood is used for its protein to help grow and support eggs. I’m not going to go into the detail of how each type of flying annoyance gets to the blood supply, trust me seeing diagrams will not make you feel better about it. Males, on the other hand, sip on nectar rather than humans to get their nutrients. Because of this they do contribute to pollination, so that is one plus.

On top of that, there is always the fall back explanation that I always disliked in school: they are part of a complex ecosystem and food web. As unsatisfactory as that answer is, it’s the truth. Every organism plays its part in the food chain and these bloodsuckers are no different, they are eaten by a variety of bigger (not that being bigger is difficult) predators. As for mosquitos and black flies, the larvae also play a part in the aquatic food webs in the habitat. They eat microorganisms, detritus, and some species eat algae as well (Edwards and Meyer, 1987; Merritt et al. 1992). Fish and birds feed on the larvae, then larger organisms can prey on the fish and birds, and the sun rises and sets, and the earth goes around the sun and everything is all peachy.

Interestingly, one review found that though mosquitos have many functions, there are other organisms that do the same thing could take their place (Fang, 2010). I’d like to think this is true, but no one can really predict what would happen if the entire group of bloodsuckers was removed from their respective ecosystems. Basically, what I found is that no one likes these pests, we just aren’t sure the most effective and safe way to get rid of them. So my best advices is put some bug spray on and get out there and enjoy nature anyways!

Literature Cited

Edwards, R.T., and Meyer, J.L., (1987) Bacteria as a Food Source for Black Fly Larvae in a Blackwater River. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 6, no. 4: 241-250.

Fang, J. (2010). Ecology: a world without mosquitoes. Nature News466(7305), 432-434.

Merritt, R.W., Dadd, R.H., & Walker, E.D. (1992). Feeding behavior, natural food, and nutritional relationships of larval mosquitoes. Annual review of entomology37(1), 349-374.

 

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About Keva Pariyar

Keva is a 2017 Maine Conservation Corps Field Team Member. Massachusetts raised, over caffeinated, hiking and trail enthusiast. Lover of all things bunny or salamander.

 

 

What to Expect during Your First Hitch! By Field Team Member Keva Paryiar

I am a planner, I like to know the when and what of everything I might be doing; I even have three planners. With orientation all wrapped up, I had the basic knowledge of what I was going to be doing, but working on a trail crew is very much a learn on the job kind of experience. Our first team task was meal planning, since everyone takes turns making dinner. We have two vegetarians on MCC 3 which I thought was going to be really difficult for me since I’m basically a carnivore and never grew out of the toddler stage of disliking vegetables. But as the hitch continued it worked out just fine, and it turns out I was hungry enough at the end of the day that I ate all my vegetables without even blinking.

I would be lying if I said my first hitch went off without a hitch (I think I’m funny). The hitch was spent clearing blowdowns in the north part of Baxter State Park; in fact that is what we did for the first 4 hitches. During school, I worked at an accounting office, so the switch from business causal and sitting at a desk to working outside near chainsaws and hiking many miles a day was a big one for sure. Because I was not able to make it to chainsaw training, my job was to pick up all the pieces that one of my certified chainsaw-wielding friends had cut and move it off the trail. Though the concept is easy, it was hard work. One day a group of three of us cleared 101 blowdowns! I know I was sore after my first day, and more so after the second, but it’s amazing how quickly your body adapts to being able work hard every day and by the end of the week I was feeling good. It also feels pretty awesome to be able to pick up trunks of trees bigger than you and drag them into the woods. Not only do you become stronger physically, but mentally as well.

For me, the work was hard, but living and working with the same people constantly was a bigger adjustment. I am an only child, and had the house to myself many afternoons growing up before college where it is easy to get time to yourself. Not so much on hitch. The first couple days were difficult, between being tired from the work and still not knowing team members very well. The beauty of spending so much time together is that you get to know your crew so fast. Not to mention when you have to rely on each other for food, it really brings you together. By the end of the first hitch I couldn’t imagine having anyone else on my crew. We would all read, or talk, or play cards while dinner was getting ready and talk about the cool things we did and saw that day.

Whether you have been on a crew before or not, it doesn’t take long to get into the swing of things and get to know and love your crew members. I hang out with my team off hitch too because they are such a fun group of people! And the icing on the cake is that you get to work with friends all day in some of the most beautiful places; places that people go on vacation to in order to get away from their job.

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About Keva Pariyar

Keva is a 2017 Maine Conservation Corps Field Team Member. Massachusetts raised, over caffeinated, hiking and trail enthusiast. Lover of all things bunny or salamander.

What to Expect When You are Expecting…to go to Orientation! By Field Team Member Keva Pariyar

You were accepted to be a team member, you received your packet of paperwork and packing list, and now you are just anxiously waiting to go to orientation and start your next adventure (and I promise you it is an adventure). Before you hit the trails, MCC has a weeklong intro to all the fun things that you will be doing over the season. Each day you learn components of what will soon become your everyday life.

Every morning starts off with breakfast and making lunch for the day. From there everyone heads to stretch circle, which is a ritual that is continued throughout the term. During stretch circle there is a question of the day (start thinking of some because as the term continues it becomes harder to come up with them). After everyone goes around and gives a stretch and answers the question, the floor is opened up for community concerns. This could be anything that you believe that the entire community should be aware of, hence “community concerns”. After making sure all concerns are addressed the rest of the day begins!

Things that are covered during the days of orientation include:

  • The always thrilling membership agreements
  • First Aid and CPR training
  • Leave No Trace Principles (for a preview, read the article all about them and be super prepared when this day rolls around)
  • Basics of backcountry living
  • Basics of the types of trail work that you could be doing

Don’t worry, although there is a lot of information being thrown at you, there are two breaks and a lunch break and the day is over at 4:30. Every night a group of people are signed up to make dinner for everyone and everyone eats together. After that another group of people are in charge of getting all the dishes washed and ready for the next day. Of course one of the most important aspects of orientation is getting to know each other, and there is plenty of downtime to meet all your fellow field team members before you are all assigned to your respective field teams.

Finally, on the last day, the day everyone is waiting for, you find out who your team leader and team members will be! Once you find out your team, you spend a little time with them and get to find out all the fun projects you will be working on during the term.

From all of us already here, we are so excited to meet you and work with you over the fall!!

 

 

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About Keva Pariyar

Keva is a 2017 Maine Conservation Corps Field Team Member. Massachusetts raised, over caffeinated, hiking and trail enthusiast. Lover of all things bunny or salamander.

Day Pack Essentials by Field Team Member Keva Pariyar

Thankfully it isn’t necessary to bring our backpacking packs with us every day when we are out on hitch (living and working in the woods). Day packs are used to carry just the essentials for each day. So what goes into a day pack in the morning?

  1. WATER! Staying hydrated is extremely important during the work day. Not only because you are hiking, but you are working hard all day. I always bring 3 liters, but some hot days it doesn’t seem like that much. It’s also not a bad idea to bring another way to treat water such as a filter, iodine tabs, or bleach.
  2. Thankfully, this one isn’t too hard to remember. A couple of snacks for breaks and lunch for the day go into my bag every morning. Making sure to be eating enough to keep your energy up though the day is vital to not only being able to work, but enjoying it as well.
  3. Rain Gear. Weather in the mountains can be pretty unpredictable, and working in wet clothes is uncomfortable. Bringing a rain coat, rain pants, and a pack cover help when a rain storm sneaks up on you.
  4. First aid kit. Accidents happen, and if you are me, they happen a lot because I never know where my feet are. Having a first aid kit helps with everything from minor cuts and blisters to sprained ankles. When you are with your crew, someone always brings a first aid kit supplied by MCC full of all sorts of goodies.
  5. Map and Compass. It’s always a good idea to know where you are and where you are going during a work day. Some projects, like when you are remarking a trail, tend to make getting turned around a little more likely. A map is a good safety net for those confusing times.
  6. Personal protective equipment (PPE). Because we work with both hand tools and power tools, we have to make sure that we are properly dressed to limit chance of injury. Gloves, eye protection, ear protection, and hard hats are all worn when working. I have a couple pairs of gloves in my bag in case I want more grip when it’s raining or the handles of the tools are slippery.
  7. Poop bag. Since we are out working in the woods, Leave No Trace principles apply 24/7. Which means when you have to go during the workday, you need to dig a cat hole and pack any toilet paper out with you. A shovel, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and a separate bag for used toilet paper should all be in the bag.

 

 

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About Keva Pariyar

Keva is a 2017 Maine Conservation Corps Field Team Member. Massachusetts raised, over caffeinated, hiking and trail enthusiast. Lover of all things bunny or salamander.

 

Team Leader Taylor Deely’s MCC Experience

“This summer my Crew has been working hard to improve drainage and erosion on the AT. From stone stairs and water bars to turnpikes and retaining walls, we build structures that will last decades using hand tools such as rock bars, mattocks, mash and Spaulding hammers, and our favorite, the grip hoist. 

Working on a team is rewarding, challenging, and full of unforgettable moments. We swim in the lake after work, cook potatoes over the fire, work ourselves silly, summit mountains, laugh through hail storms and downpours, wind and sunshine, mosquitos and flies. This crew has built a community that is a safe space to grow, learn, fail, recover, and succeed. We constantly work on communication, healthy balances, and providing opportunities to take on leadership roles. 

This crew is from all over the place. From Maine to Indiana to Nova Scotia we have members of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels. Together we work towards a common goal and that’s what blends us together so well. 

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I have been serving with MCC since 2014. MCC provides me with stability, adventure, constant personal growth, and meaningful work that is so desperately needed to conserve all of what Maine has to offer. I’d like to thank the members on my Crew (Emily LeGrand, Asa Kerr, Anna Smedley, Ian Van Twistern, Will Lightfoot, Joy Fitzgerald) for their continued dedication, hard work, and positive attitude. Peace!”

-Taylor Deely

The Principles of Leave No Trace By MCC Field Team Member, Keva Pariyar

Here at MCC we care about conserving the environment! If you have done any sort of camping, hiking, or backpacking you have probably at least peripherally heard of Leave No Trace (LNT hereafter); but what is it and why should we follow the principles of LNT? There are seven principles of LNT, and after a little explanation of each hopefully it will make sense as to why we follow them.

  1. Plan ahead and prepare

Sometimes spontaneity can be fun, but if you are headed into the backcountry that can spell disaster. Before heading off on an adventure, make an itinerary and give it to family or friends so someone knows when you should be back. While you are at it, make one and put in on the dashboard of your car with emergency contact information in case you should’ve been back 2 days ago and still aren’t. Do things like look at the weather so you can dress appropriately, and always bring rain gear because if you don’t there WILL be a surprise storm. Make sure that you have enough water and food. If you are like me and are constantly hungry, maybe some extra snacks too. Finally, at the risk of sounding like my mother, double check that you packed everything you thought you were going to.

  1. Travel and camp on durable surfaces

LNT1First things first, what is a durable surface? Durable surfaces include rock, gravel, dry grasses, snow, and, of course, already established camps and trails. With that definition out of the way, the principle becomes pretty easy to follow. Hike and camp on those surfaces. If that is absolutely not possible, try to disperse so as to not form trails or camps. Repeated use of the same area will have a larger impact, think water creating canyons because it is running on the same spot eroding away at rock.

  1. Dispose of waste properly

This principle is simple enough. If you brought it in, you should bring it back out with you. This includes trash like wrappers, food waste and some less desirable items like used toilet paper. On that note, trash isn’t the only kind of waste. If you need to go to the bathroom make sure you are 200 feet away from the trail, camp, and any potential water sources. For solid waste, dig a cat hole. What’s a cat hole you ask? It’s a hole that is 6 to 8 inches deep. When you are finished with your business, fill the hole in with dirt and mark it with sticks or a rock so other people don’t try to dig a cat hole where yours is. This is a time when X does not mark a desirable spot. If you have to do dishes or wash yourself, the 200 feet from water rule still applies. Strain food waste out and scatter the soapy water.

  1. Leave what you find

You know when you see a really cool flower, rock, or leaf on the trail and you want to bring it home? Please, don’t! If you take it, the next person won’t get to see it. Take a photo, or just live in the moment, allowing the next person the opportunity to see the thing and think it’s equally as cool as you did. Furthermore, it could be of historic importance or value (look up who to contact for that and help preserve history!).

  1. Minimize campfire impacts

LNT2It’s the end of the day of hiking and you are settling in at camp; but what’s camp without a fire, right? While I am completely of that camp (see what I did there), fires have huge impacts on the environment. First, only make a fire where it’s permitted. Some parks allow them, others don’t (this goes back to principle one, know if you will be able to have a fire). Use fire rings, pans, or mound fires in places that you are allowed to make fires. Maine also has a rule that you have to buy the wood where you burn it, this helps stop the transport of invasive species which is a whole other issue that we will get into at somepoint.

  1. Respect wildlife 

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Wildlife is just that, WILD. Use the rule of thumb; if you close one eye and put your thumb in front of whatever the creature is, your thumb should completely eclipse the animal. Other things you shouldn’t do include: feed the animals, try to pet the animals, and follow the animals. Another consideration is to stay away from wildlife during times like mating, nesting, and raising their offspring. Take a picture if you can, but avoid flash and shutter sounds as they can be disturbing to the animals.

  1. Be considerate of other visitors

Often we go out into nature to get out of the hustle and bustle of daily life. Blaring music and talking really loud diminishes the serene quality of nature that many people are seeking so be aware of that. Share the trail with others, simply move over so there is enough room for them on the trail.

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For more information on Leave No Trace visit: https://lnt.org/

 

 

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About Keva Pariyar

Keva is a 2017 Maine Conservation Corps Field Team Member. Massachusetts raised, over caffeinated, hiking and trail enthusiast. Lover of all things bunny or salamander.

Alumni Spotlight: Chuck Davis

We love hearing from our Alumni! For this blog post we are putting a spotlight on MCC Alum Chuck Davis! In 2008 Chuck was an Assistant Team Leader working at Acadia National Park and Mt. Blue State Park. In 2010, he was a Team Leader for a summer team working at Bradbury State Park, Mackworth Island, and Portland Trails and finally in fall 2010 he was a Team Leader working at Acadia National Park, Caribou MTN/Donnell Region, and Cutler State Park. Chuck is now working at L.L. Bean as a Systems Analyst!

My dreams became reality, but I also gain new skills and above all new friendships that will last my whole life.”

How did serving with MCC affect your personal and professional growth?

“Serving in the MCC help me become a better leader. When I became in ATL in 2008, it was my first time being in a leadership position. My communication skills and decision making skills were put to the test and help become a leader in my position today. In 2010, I was the team leader and it was my first time being responsible for a crew and their wellbeing. All these skills I have really started with working with the MCC.”

What is your favorite memory with MCC?

“There are so many memories; it’s hard to just pick one. In 2008, one of the best memories I can recall is when it rained 28 of the 31 days in July and we were all soaked, tired and just wanted to not work. We all decided to go to one of the team member’s homes that was less than 30 minutes away from where we were staying at MT Blue State Park. The team member’s parents cook us a huge meal and it really lifted everyone’s spirits up. In 2010, I had the pleasure of being a Team Leader for two teams. The first memory was from my summer team. During the second to last week before the season was done I got a few teams to come together to climb Tumbledown Mountain. We all made it and after we were done we drove back to my house and had a big BBQ and everyone camp in my backyard. One of the best memories from my fall team was when we work in Cutler State Park. We were able to stay in a cabin at Cobscook State Park. We had so many laughs and made pretty extravagant meals.”

What was your reasoning for joining the MCC?

“I joined because I love the outdoors and love to be able to fix trails, so others can enjoy without damaging the trails too much. I also joined because I wanted to gain leadership skills that would benefit me the rest of my life.”

Why should prospective members join?

“To this day I still tell people or you want to get out of the normal routine and do something different go do a summer or fall season with the MCC. If you love the outdoors and having a lot of laughs, then this is the place for you.”

 

Volunteer Shoreline Restoration Day

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On Saturday, June 10th, MCC Environmental Steward Robin Gropp coordinated a Volunteer Shoreline Restoration Day at Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery in Orland to help restore the shore and protect the waters of Alamoosook Lake. Volunteers came together to plant native shrubs and improve beach access.

35079895400_f85eb39835_oThe event was an amazing success and Robin thanked the 42 volunteers for attending and for their help accomplishing the following:

“We planted 75 hearty native shrubs to stimulate bank revegetation and stabilization along 300 feet of shoreline. Installed 2 sets of sturdy rot-resistant steps that will provide designated and durable access points to the lake. The steps were completed in the days following the event by resident Hatchery volunteer superstars Dan Barna and Dave Folce along with District staff. The final products look and feel great. Logged 187 hours of cumulative volunteer time, which enables continued grant support for more projects throughout the watershed in the coming two years.

These measures help to block polluted runoff from entering our lake, and to maintain a stable and healthy shoreline for continued public access.”

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Additionally Robin thanked all the partners for helping make the event a success:

“We would also like to again thank our many project partners who made this event possible, and with whom we collaborate with on many similar projects throughout the Alamoosook Lake Watershed and Hancock County. Check out the links to their websites below for information about what they do and upcoming events:

The project measures aim to stabilize the eroding banks, focus public access to durable locations, and serve as a filter for soil and pollutants which would otherwise run straight in to the lake. To learn more about keeping your lake healthy and protect your favorite lake, pond or river. You can listen to WERU’s Maine Currents: Avoiding and Mitigating Watershed pollution that originally aired on June 13th. The radio broadcast has guest speakers:

  • Zack Steele, Exec. Dir. Hancock Cty. S.W.C.District
  • Chip Stubbs, Alamoosook Lake resident, past president of the Alamoosook Lake Association
  • John Wedin, Watershed Stewart for the Ellsworth, ME Water District
  • Art Grindle, Kennebec County Soil and Water Conservation District

and interviews with Robin and members of the Maine Conservation Corps from the volunteer workday event.

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Maine Conservation Corps is thankful that Hancock County Soil and Water Conservation District is such an amazing partner and we were happy to be part of such an successful volunteer event. It is inspiring to work with so many dedicated volunteers who care about the community, environment, and impact they can create.

 

Community Warmth – MLK Day of Service

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Photo: Courtesy of Kennebec Journal
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Sorting Clothing & Boots for Addie’s Attic, Augusta
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Photo: Courtesy of the Kennebec Journal, MCC MLK Day Appreciation Station

 

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Environmental Steward Maggie Lynn!
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Photo: Courtesy of CMP, a donation drive center of the community fueling our efforts

Maine Conservation Corps Puts Citizenship & Service in Action

The Maine Conservation Corps (MCC) led a diverse group of volunteers to add donated warm winter clothing within the Augusta Community Warming Center (AWC) to be distributed through Addie’s Attic. United in volunteer service to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, on January 16th MCC’s volunteers were joined by hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the country on this national day of service.

AWC, an initiative of United Way of Kennebec Valley, is housed as part of a community resources hub within St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Almost completely volunteer driven, an ongoing collaboration of several programs offers hygiene products, a food bank of both fresh and nonperishable items, clothing for all ages as well as a safe space for coffee and conversation, all under one roof. The essence of volunteerism keeps a cycle of giving present, as these essentials are continuously collected and connected with those in need.

The MLK Day of Service hosted by MCC enhanced the importance of providing warm winter clothing through AWC as well as Addie’s Attic, a year-round program within the resource hub, run solely on donated clothing items. MLK Day donations were collected from community placed boxes at Camden National Bank, CMP, Doc Hollandaise Restaurant, Penney Memorial Church, Hannaford as well as the MCC main office in support of this effort.

Volunteerism is a constant within the walls of St. Mark’s, and was heightened with the presence of MCC serving in an array of roles. As a day of reflection, connection and gratitude, MCC also offered a chance for those receiving warm clothing to hand-write a thank you card to any of the various organizations or volunteers involved. With neighbors helping neighbors and the presence of collaboration, it was both a heart-warming and overall warming experience, on the MLK Day of Service.

“Today we answer Dr. King’s call to serve and are making a difference in the lives of those in need,” said Jo Orlando the Director of MCC “A resourceful way to meet local needs, volunteer service is a powerful tool that unites us around a common purpose and builds strong communities. We are putting the core American principles of citizenship and service into action.”

Volunteers varied from High School Students, Veterans, Community Members, Families and MCC Alumni, who spent the Day of Service collecting community-wide donations, sorting, organizing and creating accessibility to warm winter wear in Maine. With over 500 articles of clothing made available for individuals and families, there were 160 winter hats, 75 jackets of varying sizes and 72 pairs of new warm socks. Through these collaborative contributions of donated items and volunteerism, we were reminded how service for others can bring us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved and connected community.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that leads the annual MLK Day of Service. National Days of Service provide Americans with an opportunity to join neighbors and local leaders to tackle community challenges and strengthen the nation.

For more information, visit NationalService.gov or contact Heather Rose for upcoming Volunteer opportunities within MCC at MConsCorps.VOC@maine.gov

Eddie Grondin’s story: Joining the Maine Conservation Corps was the “best decision I ever made.”

Eddie Grondin of Phippsburg, ME became a Field Team member with the Maine Conservation Corps (MCC) in the summer of 2015, and returned this summer to complete his second term of service. His journey up until he became an AmeriCorps member with MCC was not an easy one, and Eddie was kind enough to share his story with us.

High school was a very rough time for Eddie. He did really well in school, but he made his friends his priority. He was struggling with his parents’ divorce, which is one of the reasons he was spending so much time with his friends. After high school, Eddie lost focus on his future.  “I didn’t make any plans for after high school, I just started working at a grocery store. I knew I wasn’t really doing anything with my life and I didn’t like it. I was going down an obviously bad path, but I never really realized it. I didn’t seek help, and it was all my fault.”

Eddie’s tough times and series of poor decisions came to a head on November 6,, 2014 at 7:30pm, when he lost control of his car, and the crash resulted in the loss of Eddie’s left arm. When he woke up in the hospital and realized he lost his arm, his initial thought was “what have I done?” But Eddie said “it was weird because I felt a calming sensation in the hospital. I realized I got a second chance, and it really woke me up.”

“I wanted to do better, and told myself that everything that happened before this point is history and I now really wanted to do good things with my life. I don’t want my life to be about how I used to make bad decisions.  I did sit at home for a few months, but I was always thinking about what I am going to do and that I had to do something.  The first thing that came to my mind was volunteering. After the accident, so much of the community came together to help me out, and got me back on my feet. I wanted to return the favor.”

“I searched the internet for volunteer opportunities, and somehow wound up on the maine.gov site and found MCC.” Eddie called the MCC office and learned about the trail work the program entails.  “I thought it might be really challenging since I had just lost my arm. I was still trying to learn how to do everything else with one arm. But I liked the program and I wanted to give it a shot.”eddie

Eddie accepted a position on the MCC Field Team, and it didn’t take long for Eddie to realize joining MCC was the right choice. “Between orientation and the first hitch, I knew it was the best decision I ever made in my entire life.” When asked if he had any fears coming into MCC Eddie stated “I didn’t have any fears, I was just worried I would be judged for only having one arm. I wondered how everyone else felt about me trying to do this.” Eddie came into the experience with a great attitude and a lot of confidence.

“MCC gave me a type of life I never had before and it is a type of life I enjoy. There is nothing better than going out into the woods, work on trails, and camp out, wake up and do it all over again. It is hard to get used to, and a bit of a culture shock. There is no phone service, or bathrooms, no stores. But it is simple and satisfying. “

Eddie really enjoyed being a part of a team. “I find it more like being a part of a family. You are spending more time with your team members, than your actual family. They are people I look forward to seeing.” Eddie said his team would describe him as respectful, friendly, and a team player. He was also always willing to talk to the hikers the team encountered throughout the season!

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“Before the accident I always thought that life was so hard, and after MCC I learned that life can be simple. Some days when we were back at camp, and I would think about that one big rock that we couldn’t move. And then I realize that if all I am worrying about is not being able to move a rock…I’m doing pretty good.”

When looking towards the future, Eddie states “I want to change the world for the better. I look at all the negative stuff that goes on in the world, and I don’t think the world needs to live in this much negativity. I want to be the person that brings more positivity in the world.” Eddie remembers his favorite teacher from high school Ms. Madden who really got him hooked on writing, and was a great mentor. “She is one of those teachers that set high standards for her students, and really made you feel you could do something special with your life.”

Eddie shared some advice he would give to others who have experienced a similar loss. “It might feel like a setback, and it is going to be challenging, but just know that you will overcome those challenges, and you will end up impressing yourself more than you impress others. The accident gave me a lot of energy. I was surrounded by a lot of positive people. I was going to prove that I can do even better with one arm.”

We are thrilled that Eddie is a part of the MCC team! Thank you for your service, Eddie!