Alternative Spring Break: Students Choose Restoration and Relaxation

College students often spend their spring breaks relaxing at the beach. The group that visited Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) had something different in mind. They wanted to make a difference! This past weekend, more than 30 college students from Ohio, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and New York, jump started their spring breaks by helping with vital tasks designed to support trail maintenance and habitat restoration at CVNP. It wasn’t all hard work for these dedicated students. As part of the Alternative Spring Break Program, the students were treated to guided hikes, guest speaker presentations, campfires and recreational activities. The Conservancy and CVNP partnered with the National Park Conservation Association (NPCA) on habitat restoration projects during Alternative Spring Break.  

Alternate spring Break participants near the Everett Covered Bridge.   Photo credit: Jamie Walters

Alternate spring Break participants near the Everett Covered Bridge.
Photo credit: Jamie Walters

At the CVEEC, college students helped clean up the pine forest area near the administration building. Due to safety concerns, several trees had to be cut down, leaving the pine forest area full of cut logs and other debris. The students who participated in the Alternative Spring Break program moved large logs and sticks to clean up the area, and then helped to split the logs for future campfire use at the Center. The pine forest is now cleaned up and looking better than ever!

Students are briefed on safety and objectives for the pine forest cleanup at the CVEEC. Photo credit: Denny Reiser

Students are briefed on safety and objectives for the pine forest cleanup at the CVEEC. Photo credit: Denny Reiser

Student Volunteers help to move large logs to another location, where they will be split into firewood and distributed between the White Pines and Lipscomb campuses.  Photo credit: Denny Reiser

Student volunteers help to move large logs to another location, where they will be split into firewood and distributed between the White Pines and Lipscomb campuses. Photo credit: Denny Reiser

A student volunteer moves newly split firewood. This firewood will be used during resident camp programs. Imagine how many amazing campfire experiences will come from their hard work! Photo credit: Denny Reiser

A student volunteer moves newly split firewood. This firewood will be used during resident camp programs. Imagine how many amazing campfire experiences will come from their hard work! Photo credit: Denny Reiser

After an afternoon of volunteering and a hearty meal, the college students were led on a night hike by several of our Field Instructor Interns. During the Night Hike, these college students were able to experience what a typical night hike would be like for the students who come to learn at the CVEEC. They participated in a Seton Walk, listened to night sounds, and some even got to hear the story of the moonrock! Student volunteers delighted in hearing a pack of coyotes conversing with a domestic dog, and even heard the echoing call of a barred owl near the Outer Rim Trail! 

Just before the night hike, the nearly-full moon was shining bright! The light of the moon was so bright during the night hike, that several students were excited to find that they could see their shadows! Photo credit: Kate Lowry

Just before the night hike, the nearly-full moon was shining bright! The light of the moon was so bright during the night hike, that several students were excited to find that they could see their shadows! Photo credit: Kate Lowry

And what better way to wrap up a great day of volunteering and an exciting night hike, than with some s’mores! Photo credit: Kate Lowry

And what better way to wrap up a great day of volunteering and an exciting night hike, than with some s’mores! Photo credit: Kate Lowry

We appreciate the hard work these students did at the CVEEC, and hope they will cherish fond memories from their Alternative Spring Break.

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