Each year, White Mountain School students and faculty take a full day off from the usual routine to give back. This spring, 15 local non-profit organizations or recreation areas were able to take advantage of crews of WMS community members, who did everything from clearing litter from scenic rivers nearby to playing with children or planting vegetables.
Two crews assisted with projects at The Rocks Estate, a property adjacent to campus that serves as the North Country Conservation & Education Center for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Students split and stacked wood and completed some significant trail maintenance. The 1,400 acre property often welcomes WMS students and faculty who are looking for exercise on their trails system or the benefits of their frequent educational programing on a myriad of environmental topics.
In Bethlehem, students and teachers helped with projects at Bretzfelder Park, painted a fence at the Colonial Theater and lent a hand at WREN (the Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network). Students also did some extra work on the WMS Farm with Renée Blacken (Science) and Campbell Ainsworth (French) to prepare it for the summer growing season when it will be largely tended by faculty members.
Groups helped with work (and play!) at the Franconia Children’s Center where many faculty children are enrolled in daycare. Another crew did some spring cleaning and work outdoors at Copper Cannon Camp, which provides a free, traditional summer sleep-away camp program for children from all over New Hampshire. Others made their way over to nearby trail systems or The Frost Place to clear debris from the winter months…and enjoy a picnic lunch on the front porch of famed poet Robert Frost’s inspiring farmhouse.
Littleton groups joined forces with other volunteers at the town’s newly re-opened community ski hill, Mt. Eustis, spent some time constructing ramps at the skate park, or assisted with the planting of vegetable gardens at the Mt. Sacred Heart Convent.
First year faculty member Ayaka Okawa said, “I was impressed by the breadth of the types of volunteering that our School took part in. The range was huge, and I loved that this was a very local day. All of the work served Bethlehem, Littleton and Franconia. It was a true day of giving back. I also noticed that the students were making connections to the people and places they visited. I heard them say things like, ‘Oh– this is where Ryan (Director of College Counseling) and Lizzie’s (Chair of Sustainability Studies Department) children go to school’ or ‘That’s where so-and-so’s dad works.’ It was heart-warming.”