Wilderness Manifesto Final

            For my Wilderness Manifesto piece, I came about the topics of sustainability, preservation and conservation through my experiences and developing my ethic during discussions, readings, and observations in this class. I notice we need to sustain our environment. Writing about my childhood experiences for this manifesto was easy to write about because it was relating back to my own memories. The hard part about the writing this paper was laying out how I would discuss sustainability as a part of my ethic. My favorite part is when I get to reflect fondly on different childhood memories! With this paper, I want to raise awareness about wilderness and the problems we are facing with sustainability.

 

Why does wilderness matter to me?

Wilderness matters to me. I use the wilderness as a form of recreation, enjoyment, its aesthetic appeal, and as a place of escape. Wilderness as a form of recreation allows me to do many different things. I will take my dogs on walks through the woods. I also like to run through different places, especially the woods. According to Thoreau, “When we walk we naturally go to the fields and woods.” I did Cross-Country in high school, and we got to run through different woods and on different trails. It was something I really came to enjoy. I do not think I would enjoy it so much if it wasn’t in the wilderness, like running though a city sucks, especially when you can count the number of blocks you have already ran. But running out in the wilderness, there is no way that I can keep track of how far I have gone, I can only guess. I like not being able to know how far I have run, I just run until I want to turn around and then turn around and come back. Running through different trails is the most enjoyable form of recreation, for me by myself, in the wilderness. Wilderness is also aesthetically pleasing to me. It is always pretty. The beauty allows me to get absorbed in it. Running through the wilderness also allows me to escape from everyday realities. Because I can’t see different places it won’t remind me and then I do not think about it.

Wilderness matters to me because I would not have had these following experiences if wilderness didn’t exist and wasn’t sustained to my generation. Wilderness also is a way for me to link memories from the past to the present, allowing me to reminisce on younger days. From the time I was little, I remember going out into my grandparents’ woods, hiking, picking flowers, walking their dogs, ice-skating on the pond, and just enjoying the time spent with them. The wilderness provided me with those memories. I lost my grandfather last summer and with him went all of my chances to make more memories. But the memories I did have the chance to make with him were cherished, and many of those memories involve the wilderness. But their woods continue to provide me with endless memories that are my favorite. Climbing Grandfather Mountain reminded me of a day in the woods at Gigi’s House. Another wilderness experience that I remember is biking through the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. The woods and a river running beside us, rushing against the rocks, was an experience that vaguely reminded me of climbing Hebron Rock Colony. Both experiences incorporated wilderness, and provided me with memories and stories that I will be able to tell my children one day. Canoeing on the Roanoke River reminded me of canoeing with my AP Biology class for a day, and kayaking reminded me of kayaking with one of my best friends on a hot summer day on the Susquehanna River. Although my experiences with wilderness were only in minimal amounts, these experiences were moments I treasure and will forever look back on.

My Definition of Wilderness

Wilderness has the potential to be any or everywhere depending on the person who is describing it. I feel that each individual’s definition of wilderness varies. Wilderness is an ongoing debate depending on what topic you are fighting for or what ethic you are trying to further insight and protect. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, wilderness is: a (1) : a tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings (2) : an area essentially undisturbed by human activity together with its naturally developed life community : b : an empty or pathless area or region <in remote wildernesses of space groups of nebulae are found — G. W. Gray †1960> : c : a part of a garden devoted to wild growth (“wilderness”). In contrast, the definition of wilderness according to The Wilderness Act varies.

“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain…. which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value” (The Wilderness Act of 1964).

My wilderness manifesto, after careful development throughout this class, the readings, and past experiences, is based around anthropocentric sustainability. Some readings have called to my attention that although “wilderness” has been around since humans have, I never really realized that we had coined that term and all that is encompassed it in. We, in terming wilderness, have accidently and purposely placed our imprint on wilderness. I feel that now that we have disturbed wilderness, we must sustain what we have disturbed, being careful to keep what we have. We use wilderness for our own selfish needs. We need to sustain what we have in order to preserve what we have left and conserve what we have already used in hopes to reuse it.

Each word that I type has been invented, termed, and defined by humans. We have created a whole idea behind words. One example of this is through the word wilderness. We have termed the word wilderness and through the terming of this, it has furthered caused us to enact legislation of many types to protect “wilderness”. We have also adjusted our coined term, wilderness, because we want to further include different aspects of wilderness that were not previously included. We have expanded this to include a numerical amount of how many acres wilderness should be, along with descriptions including the characteristics of being untouched by man and having a value of some sort. “It [wilderness] is quite profoundly a human creation – indeed this creation of very particular human cultures at very particular moments in human history” (Cronin).

Throughout us terming the word wilderness we have done so for our own selfishness.

According to Roberts, “Humans need the land in order to survive” (2). We use wilderness and land to truly benefit ourselves, which helps us to survive. Everything we do to benefit wilderness always ends up benefitting us. We think that we are looking out for what is the best for the wilderness. We do this through a variety of different ways. One way we help ourselves is through cleaning parks and clearing trails. Clean parks, which are reinforced through laws to ensure they stay clean, give a place of recreation for people to go and enjoy nature and wilderness. Clearing or creating trails, allows people walk (or run or bike) through different places without the worry of getting lost, and also allows them to enjoy the beauty of wilderness. Trails would be something that Thoreau would not agree with. He enjoys the ability to get lost in the wilderness. He would not enjoy plowed, and some places paved, trails. “Roads are made for horses and men of business. I do not travel in them much comparatively” (Thoreau). I think that he would consider our trails, roads, because they are used for men of business. Although they are used for men of business, it is a way for the men to get away form the hustles and bustles of everyday life. Thoreau would agree with a need to get away from everyday life, with his statement, “I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits unless I spend four hours a day at least — and it is commonly more than that — sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields absolutely free from all worldly engagements” (Thoreau). With his travels, not on trails, Thoreau predicted, “…the day will come when it will be partitioned off into so-called pleasure grounds, in which a few will take a narrow and exclusive pleasure only.” We have come to that day, where we have been corralled off into pleasure grounds. These pleasure grounds are what we call parks and trails that we like to travel on.

Another way that we help wilderness to help ourselves is by planting flowers in a garden, fruits and vegetables, fertilizing the ground we use and planting trees. We plant flowers to help root soil, make our yards look prettier, through aesthetic appeal, and provide a sweet fragrance that encompasses the air around your house. We plant fruits and vegetables to allow part of our food to be self-sufficient, making it easier on our wallets. It allows us to eat them, but I know some feel that by us planting different fruits and vegetables we’re enriching the soil. Although we feel were enriching the soil, we are actually stripping the soil of all of it’s nutrients. Thus, around this time every year is when the farm fields start to stink, because farmers are fertilizing the soil with different manures. We do this because we want it to help our plants grow, which in turn allows the farmers to make a profit off of their crops. Planting trees provides aesthetical appeal to any barren landscape. It also roots soil in place, which prevents soil erosion. Trees provide also provide protection, standing tall and strong. Trees also help curb children’s curiosity, giving them something to hang and swing from, and climb on, but can also be a source of pain, if they were to fall and hurt themselves. But mainly, trees preform photosynthesis, which provide us with a vital need, oxygen. Oxygen, which will eventually kill all of us, is what we as humans need, so by planting trees, we eliminate carbon dioxide in the air and release oxygen in it’s place.

A final way we help wilderness to help ourselves is by protecting different places of rich biodiversity to protect the biodiversity of that area. We protect the areas of rich biodiversity because we want to protect different organisms within that specific ecosystem. We protect these areas because we want to protect our butts. We do not want to be the ones that let an animal or plant to go extinct on our watch. Our egocentric selves, it would not look good to have an animal go extinct without us being able to say “We did everything we could to protect it.”  

We need to sustain what we have left for wilderness. We have disturbed wilderness and now need to sustain what is left.  But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have, the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.” The way the EPA defines how sustainability is important because they define it will the anthropocentric ideals in mind. They want us to be able to sustain wilderness and the environment to “protect human health”. This key shows that we are only protecting our environment to better protect ourselves.  Noss states, “…a logical response to our quandary is to manage in a more ecologically sensible manner the “semi- natural matrix” that constitutes most of our land (Brown quoted in Noss). Noss is trying to form a plan that will help us to sustain the bits of wilderness that we have left.

We need to sustain wilderness to sustain biodiversity in different habitats and ecosystems. Sustainability is not just important for the biodiversity of a specific area, but also for our own resources that are required for different industries. “Its importance to sustaining resource-based industries such as agriculture, fishing, forestry and tourism cannot be overestimated” (Introduction – Sustaining Biodiversity). If we do not sustain the wilderness, then we will not be able to profit from our different industries that require those specific resources to flourish and thrive. “…we have no choice: we must carefully sustain our biological resources if we are to prosper and to have a high quality of life” (Introduction – Sustaining Biodiversity). This statement is inferring that if we don’t sustain what we have then our quality of life will diminish, which is true. Agreeing with that statement, Bergstrom, Bowker and Cordell state, “The presence of Wilderness may also contribute to the overall social well-being and quality of life in human communities through recreational therapeutic religious or spiritual growth.”  This statement agrees with that if we don’t sustain the presence of wilderness then our well-being will diminish. If we do not sustain what we have, we will continue to deplete what we have until it is all gone.

Then once the environment is gone, we will not be able to get it back, and will be force to find different ways to go about whatever that particular person was using wilderness for. Say, if you were using wilderness for recreation, you would have to find a new place to have fun. If you were using the wilderness for spirituality, then you would need to find a new place to meditate. Without this place to meditate, then it could lead to depression, which would diminish your quality of life. If you used wilderness as a form of an escape, and wilderness wasn’t sustained, it could lead to depression because of how harsh realities are and without wilderness to escape to, you have no way of coping with them. If you used wilderness as a form of industry, your resources would be gone, so the industry will have to shut down because it would be too expensive to maintain. Finally, if you used wilderness through a job in agriculture or a job in a park you would lose your job and your quality of life would diminish greatly! In the case of agriculture, you don’t have the ability to continue to grow the crops that you need in order to provide for your family, which would cause a great stress on their life and lead to depression or an anxiety disorder. In the case of losing your job if you work at a recreational park, like a park ranger in Yellowstone, you would have to start over and look for a new job. Looking for a new job would become a stressor, which would diminish your quality of life, especially if you had specialized in something that related to wilderness or being a park ranger in any way and can not use your skills in another profession.

We can sustain through preservation and conservation. We need to preserve what we either have not yet used or have use but stopped. We need to preserve what we have not used yet so that it will be able to be viewed for generations to come. Sharma agrees, “We certainly ought to preserve and protect wilderness areas.” We need to preserve the parts of the wilderness that holds different endangered organisms, because we do not know if the ecosystem will continue without it. If we don’t preserve what we have, we might well use it up until it is gone, and then we can never get it back. We need to conserve what we have already used, so that it does not go extinct. According to Leopold, “Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.” Sustainability is greatly seen through conserving farmland. Farmers create harmony between men and land. Farmers till the land, and use crop rotation to better sustain the land. Crop rotation conserves different nutrients in the soil so that it can continue to be used for many years, instead of using the soil for only a couple years and then moving on. The practice of using the land for only a couple of years and then moving on is seen tremendously where the rainforest was. The farmers do not conserve the land. They chop down the rainforest, use the soil until it’s nutrient depleted and then moves on to the next plot of land they can find. We also need to conserve the wilderness and the parks so that the generations that follow us can enjoy the wilderness like we did.

 

 

 

Works Cited

Bergstrom, John C., J. M. Bowker, and H. Cordell. “An Organizing Framework for Wilderness Values.” The Multiple Values of Wilderness. By John Bergstrom. Venture, (2005): 48-55. Web. 15 April 2013.

This chapter begins by defining wilderness. Then it transfers into a framework to measure wilderness values. Discussing in further detail, this article describes the different wilderness connections: value accounts, wilderness attributes, wilderness functions and wilderness services. It then goes into further detail about wilderness values. This articles main purpose is to show how everything in the wilderness has value, and can be broken down into its own distinct part of the framework.

 

Cronin, William. “The Trouble With Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature.” Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, New York: W. W. Norton & Co. (1995): 69-90. Web.

Cronin’s article begins by discussing the frontier and Western culture. He uses the ideals from the Western culture to drive his point that we have termed wilderness as wilderness, and thus we exclude wilderness from our day-to-day lives, only going to the wilderness as a place of recreation or spirituality. He uses examples of how men first looked at wilderness, and were afraid of it, and now people have lost their fear. He also touches on the paradox that we removed the Indian’s to create an “uninhabited wilderness”. He also relates environmental problems to poor people, because they are they ones usually affected by them. He concludes that we should embrace wilderness and take responsibility for the place we’re trying to sustain.

 

 “Introduction – Sustaining Biodiversity.” The State Of Victoria. 2013. Web. 21 April 2013.

 

Leopold, Aldo. “The Land Ethic.” A Sand County Almanac. 1948. Web. 15 April 2013.

The ethics is based on three elements: relation between individual, relations between individual and society, and evolutionary possibility and ecological necessity. The land ethic like all other ethics is based on community. If land conservation were based on economic self-interest, it would only work for people that want/need the economic gain not the ones looking out for the best interest of the land. He elaborates on the land pyramid. He finalizes his paper with the understanding of why a land ethic is so important.

 

Noss, Reed F. “Society for Conservation Biology: Sustainability and Wilderness.” Wiley for Society for Conservation Biology. JSTOR. Vol. 5, No. 1 (Mar., 1991), pp. 120-122. Web. 21 April 2013.

 

Roberts, Lynda. “A Conflict between Values.” 1-26. Web. 15 April 2013.

This article compares the anthropocentric verses the bio-centric ideal. It explains intrinsic verse extrinsic valued concepts along with the personal values of wilderness. It touches on the long-term goals that we could achieve if we weren’t so wrapped up in our short-term goals. It states that we need to change our consumption rates. Finally, it shows the importance of preserving the wilderness.

 

Sharma, Kishan Kumar. “World Tourism Today.” Sarup & Sons. (2004): 12. Web. 15 April 2013.

This page discusses the difference between an anthropocentric approach and a bio-centric approach. This piece moves on to further discuss the deep ecology perspective. This perspective includes both approaches in its discussion. It also captures the intrinsic values that wilderness possesses.

 

“The Wilderness Act of 1964.” Wilderness.net. The University of Montana. 2013. Web. 21 April 2013.

 

“What is Sustainability?” EPA: United States Environmental Protection Agency. EPA. 2013. Web. 21 April 2013.

 

“Wilderness.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster. 2013. Web. 21 April 2013.

 

 

 

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Final Polished Narrative: Letter

For the topic of my letter to my family, I chose to reflect on the trip we took to Boone as a Wilderness Class. The easy part about writing the letter was incorporating all of the different family ties into the piece to help my family truly connect. The hard part was reflecting on what I gained through this trip, putting my own gains into words was difficult for me. My favorite part of this letter is the sassy little comments throughout it. With this letter, I want to be able to inform my family about my trip and have them be able to relate through experiences of their own.

Abe and Lynne Howard

2028 Pheasant Ridge Road

Lewisburg, PA 17837

Dear Abe, Lynne, Perie and Mason,

Although all of you know I went to Boone on a trip with my Wilderness Writing Class, I never did give you details about the trip. The trip started about four hours earlier than expected. We ended up leaving at 8 am instead of the planned noon because the weather was expected to get bad later that night.  Leaving early would allow us to arrive at Boone, go to the grocery store and then arrive at the house before dark.

The ride to Boone in the 15-passenger van was interesting. The ride started off smooth. You know our trips to the beach and how we don’t stop until the North Carolina line? Well because I was used to riding in the car like that, sucking it up if you had to pee because you weren’t at the state line yet, the trip to Boone was a struggle. It was supposed to take up about six hours to get there, but ended up taking us eight. We did pretty well the first half of the trip in regards to stopping. Our first stop was an eventful one.

We were in Greensboro, trying to get to a classmate’s house to pick up pork for dinner one night, but the van made a turn 250 yards too early. In the process of us trying to turn around, we drove into standing water. Of course we got stuck. You guys know my luck! Tires spinning and mud flying, a couple of the guys went out to try and push the van out of the mud. The tires dug deeper and deeper. We all tried to lighten the load by piling out of the car, but it didn’t help. After probably laughing his butt off watching us struggle for so long, one of the neighbors came out to help. Corrie, Kate and I wanted to stretch our legs, so we figured we’d walk to our classmate’s house to pick up the pork barbeque. As we started down the road we ended up crossing paths with the other truck and were forced to go back to the “struggle bus.” We saw the neighbor had brought back a tractor and pulled our stuck beast out of the muck.

At Harris Teeter in Boone, we jammed out our grocery store list, breaking up into our groups to purchase the meal we planned out. Luckily I was in the chili group. Y’all know my cooking skills couldn’t take anything more complicated than that! Checking out wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated though! We helped the cashier figure out how to break up the check and even calculated how each individual student was going to pay. We were kind of demanding in how the checkout process was going to go, but hey, that what happens when a bunch of “Type A” Honors students come together. It made me realize just how bossy and controlling some particular people can be. Sorry for all of the times I have been a sass monster! It also made me realize how terrible some are at following directions. It gave me a varied way of expecting chaos than I had before.

We arrived at the house in a timely manner and took personality tests. After taking the tests, our personalities were put on a white board, and we broke into groups based on results. We had to look up what our personality entailed, which famous people had the same personality, and which careers were the best match for us. My personality trait was an ESFJ. This means that I’m an extrovert. I have a preference of sensing over intuition. The F means that I make my decisions off of my feelings verses thinking about it. The J means that I am judgmental instead of perceiving situations and people. ESFJ’s are generally called “caregivers”. I feel a caregiver reflects my personality well, don’t you? Good thing I’m going to nursing school!

We collected again to have a class discussion. With all the different personality types all clustered together, the personality type E-J mainly dominated the discussion because these people speak their minds and make judgmental decisions instead of perceiving the surroundings. The room got rather rowdy with a bunch of kids talking about different points at the same time. Many were talking over one another to the point where I was like forget this! Sheesh! I wasn’t going to keep competing, so I just sat and listened. It was kind of like having a discussion with Perie after she has already made up her mind!
In the woods, our personalities ended up meshing way better than I could’ve ever expected. Our class played off each other really well; making sure that everyone was accounted for and safe. We started off that day early. We were up and at  ‘em on the way to Grandfather Mountain by 9:00 am. It was a cold, windy morning with hardly any sun shining. Someone must have lit fire under our heels when we started up the mountain. We were flying!  Slowly, as each pair of students found their pace, the space in-between classmates grew further. While Kate and a couple of other people raced up the side of the mountain, Corrie and I slowed our pace after we needed to shed multiple layers. We figured while we were stopped we should take pictures and absorb the beauty of wilderness all around us. Eventually we kept trekking up the mountain like little energizer bunnies.

The first part of the hike was harder than the section that was supposed to be more difficult and uphill. I was huffing and puffing! Thanks for the small lungs, mom and dad. In the first half of the hike, the trail kept doubling back, creeping up the side of the mountain. This part of the hike reminded me of hiking through Gigi’s woods, like hiking back to the pond or further. We stopped at “The Profile” where you could see Grandfather Mountain’s profile of the face. That was when the air got a wee bit chillier and the ground got icier as we were climbing up different rocks and finagling our way up. There was more snow up there, which was pretty, but kept the air nippy. I had my pink ski socks on, which were creeping over the tops of the boots! They were keeping my whole calf protected, which was awesome!!! We kept hiking on up to the next destination: a natural spring. Some people got water from the spring and described it as mossy tasting, but I hadn’t drank any water so didn’t need to fill up my water bottle.  The icicles that hung off the rock behind the natural spring were gorgeous. They were ginormous! We continued on up the mountain. When we finally got to the very top you could see the whole valley! It was craziness! We ate on a rock at the top of the mountain.

Going down the mountain was about a hundred and fifty bajillion times easier than travelling up. We flew down the mountain in a much shorter amount of time than it took us to get up the mountain. I think it was partly because everybody was eager to get back and were much happier campers on the trek down with our full bellies and newfound wind. After we got to the bottom of the mountain, the rest of the day was pretty uneventful, having only lost one adult on our way down, for a minor ten minutes. Losing the one adult reminded when we lost Emmilou and the Rippons in the woods at Gigi and Grandpops during the Fourth of July party. Then Sherri went running into the woods, but not on any form a path and we ended up looking for her after finding the kids. The lost guy came back where we all gathered, and like Emmilou, came out of the woods like she’d never been lost at all.  But man-o-man people crashed that night. Everybody turned in early; plus we had an even more exciting day planned for the morning.

I woke up groggy with soreness in muscles I didn’t even know I had. But all that aside, there was a fever in the house. Everybody was light and jittery because of the excitement! We all knew that Hebron Rock Colony was dangerous, but with the way Dr. Egan’s eyes lit up when describing it made me excited to try it out. On the way to Hebron, I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous. I didn’t want to re-twist my ankle or fall off a rock and die. But once I got there, I realized I really didn’t have to be scared, but instead could just go about climbing the rocks with common sense, planning out different moves ten moves in advance. After beginning the climb, I realized it was harder than I expected, granted these were like car-sized boulders with a river running in-between. So while I was watching out for ice to slip on, I also had to make sure not to misstep or underestimate a distance. Once I got going jumping from rock to rock the adrenaline started pumping throughout my body. Climbing up these rocks reminded me of playing at Soldier Park, or “wrock-park” as Perie used to call it. I used to think Soldier Park’s rocks were big formations – its got nothing on Hebron! When we grew older, the jump in-between the two formations was the new challenge. As Corrie and I took on Hebron Rock Colony rock by rock, we slowly got to the top.  The middle section was where we got stuck. There was a place we could cross to continue up to the top, but the problem was we didn’t know whether that area was safe or if the rock was covered in ice. That’s when a couple of kids who had already conquered the colony came back down to help us cross. They tested the rock so we knew whether or not it was slick. We were never really confident that it wasn’t slick, but we crossed anyways. We like to live on the edge.

As Corrie and I continued to climb, we reached little paths of forest as the rocks zigzagged across the river. We constantly turned around to see where we had come from and always felt a sense of triumph. Upon reaching the top of Hebron, Corrie and I had such an adrenaline rush. We met up with Kate and Taylor and continued our climb onward and upward to this little island that was beyond the rock colony. We climbed through a crack that was a giant rock leaned up on the banks outside the river. As we crossed through that mossy and damp wedge in-between two rocks, I realized even more how exhilarating this climb was. We got where we could cross onto the little island, but it forced us to cross a piece of river by means of a path made from uneven rocks leading to a fallen tree trunk to which we could jump onto the island. When we got onto that little island, Corrie and I did sit ups and push-ups at the top, just so we could say we did!  I want to go with y’all one day to Hebron! Hopefully in the summer because I think it would be way more fun, and more bearable if we were to get wet!

On the descent from the top, we stopped to take pictures for some of the guys and watched Chris shimmy up a tree trunk like a monkey! We headed back, but not without stopping to take some pictures and to write and reflect on our experiences on Hebron. The trek back wouldn’t be a complete experience without me falling AT LEAST once! Classic Sydney. But I didn’t twist my ankle this time!

I thought that yesterday’s hike had caused everyone to crash, but Hebron’s Rock Colony hike had everyone dead. That day was by far my favorite because not only was the weather absolutely gorgeous, but also the hiking was so much fun!

On our last full day, we went out to a house that had a bunch of paths running though it’s land, kind of like Gigi’s shorter trails where we take Holly and Stoney on walks. We took the trail that would take us to the stables because, naturally, I wanted to see the horses. Duh! Although we never made it there, I travelled with a bounce in my step even though it was rather chilly out because we were going to go sledding at a nearby hill! I felt like Lou and Hayes when they miss school for a snow day and get to go sledding! Eagar to get out there! Some of our classmates were already sledding, so when we joined them it was just a grand ol’party! We had races as a class and I went down on my belly once too! During one of our races, Corrie and Kate were on one sled and Katherine, a junior, and I were on the other when we grabbed ahold of each others’ sleds and ended up crashing. Our crash was a blessing in disguise though because we didn’t have to hike back up that huge hill!

Looking back on this trip, I realized how much I learned about myself. I learned how much I could test my patience. I realized how much I had learned/inherited from you, Mom, when it comes time to clean up and clear out! Jeeze! I was running the vacuum six ways til Sunday and wasn’t stopping for anything! Another thing I took away from this trip was what I learned about wilderness. I learned about how much wilderness that I have yet to discover and explore. I now know that wilderness can be found in the smallest and most unexpected places. I also learned a lot about hiking the Appalachian Trail from not only Bill Bryson’s book but also from our different class discussions about that book and Becoming Odyssa. I learned that I enjoy exploring the wilderness more when I am with others because I get lonely by myself. This trip really allowed me to learn a lot about my classmates! I have formed friendships though this class that I am sure will last a lifetime! See, isn’t it nice to know I’m actually learning stuff at college?

Although I learned so much about this trip, it was much more different than my family trips. This trip was much less structured than our trips, which I really struggled with because I am used to knowing what we are doing and when! But, the low-key atmosphere at the house was similar to our family trip. It was very chill, kinda like our trips to the beach when we just chill, maxing and relaxing! There worst part of the trip though was y’all weren’t there to experience this with me! But it’s all good because summer is coming and we have many more family escapades of equal fun to this wilderness trip planned! Can’t wait to see everyone!!!!!!

Love and miss you guys,

Sydney

Wilderness Manifesto

Wilderness has the potential to be any or everywhere depending on the person who is describing it. I feel that each individual’s definition of wilderness varies. Wilderness is an ongoing debate depending on what topic you’re fighting for or what ethic you are trying to further insight and protect. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, wilderness is: a (1) : a tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings (2) : an area essentially undisturbed by human activity together with its naturally developed life community : b : an empty or pathless area or region <in remote wildernesses of space groups of nebulae are found — G. W. Gray †1960> : c : a part of a garden devoted to wild growth (“wilderness”). In contrast, the definition of wilderness according to The Wilderness Act varies. “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain…. which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value” (The Wilderness Act of 1964).

My wilderness manifesto, after careful development throughout this class, the readings, and past experiences, is based around anthropocentric sustainability. Some readings have called to my attention that although “wilderness” has been around since humans have, I never really realized that we had coined that term and all that is encompassed it in. Us, terming wilderness, have accidently and purposely placed our imprint on wilderness. I feel that now that we have disturbed wilderness, we must sustain what we have disturbed, being careful to keep what we have. We use wilderness for our own selfishness needs. We need to sustain what we have in order to preserve what we have left and conserve what we have already used in hopes to reuse it.

Each word that I type has been invented, termed, and defined by humans. We have created a whole ideal behind words. One example of this is through the word wilderness. We have termed the word wilderness and through the terming of this, it has furthered caused us to enact legislation of many types to protect “wilderness”. We have also adjusted our coined term, wilderness, because we want to further include different aspects of wilderness that were not previously included. We have expanded this to include a numerical amount of how many acres wilderness should be, along with descriptions including the characteristics of being untouched by man and having a value of some sort. “It [wilderness] is quite profoundly a human creation – indeed this creation of very particular human cultures at very particular moments in human history” (Cronin).

Throughout us terming the word wilderness we have done so for our own selfishness. According to Roberts, “Humans need the land in order to survive.” We use wilderness and land to truly benefit ourselves, which helps us to survive. Everything that we are doing that we think are benefitting the wilderness is all encircling back around to eventually help us. We think that we are looking out for what is the best for the wilderness. We do this through a variety of different ways. One way we help ourselves is through cleaning parks and clearing trails. Clean parks, which are reinforced through laws to ensure they stay clean, give a place of recreation for people to go and enjoy nature and wilderness. Clearing or creating trails, allows people walk (or run or bike) through different places without the worry of getting lost, and also allows them to enjoy the beauty of wilderness. Although, trails would be something that Thoreau wouldn’t agree with. He enjoys the ability to get lost in the wilderness. He wouldn’t enjoy plowed, and some places paved, trails. “Roads are made for horses and men of business. I do not travel in them much comparatively” (Thoreau). I think that he would consider our trails, roads, because they are used for men of business. Although they are used for men of business, it is a way for the men to get away form the hustles and bustles of everyday life. Thoreau would agree with a need to get away from everyday life, with his statement, “I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits unless I spend four hours a day at least — and it is commonly more than that — sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields absolutely free from all worldly engagements” (Thoreau). With his travels, not on trails, Thoreau predicted, “…the day will come when it will be partitioned off into so-called pleasure grounds, in which a few will take a narrow and exclusive pleasure only.” We have come to that day, where we have been corralled off into pleasure grounds. These pleasure grounds are what we call parks and trails that we like to travel on. Another way that we help wilderness to help ourselves is by planting flowers in a garden, fruits and vegetables, fertilizing the ground we use and planting trees. We plant flowers to help root soil, make our yards look prettier, through aesthetic appeal, and provide a sweet fragrance that encompasses the air around your house. We plant fruits and vegetables to allow part of our food to be self-sufficient, making it easier on our wallets. It allows us to eat them, but I know some feel that by us planting different fruits and vegetables we’re enriching the soil. Although we feel were enriching the soil, we’re actually stripping the soil of all of it’s nutrients. Thus, around this time every year is when the farm fields start to stink, because farmers are fertilizing the soil with different manures. We do this because we want it to help our plants grow, which in turn allows the farmers to make a profit off of their crops. Planting trees provides aesthetical appeal to any barren landscape. It also roots soil in place, which prevents soil erosion. Trees provide also provide protection, standing tall and strong. Trees also help curb children’s curiosity, giving them something to hang and swing from, and climb on, but can also be a source of pain, if they were to fall and hurt themselves. But mainly, trees preform photosynthesis, which provide us with a vital need, oxygen. Oxygen, which will eventually kill all of us, is what we as humans need, so by planting trees, we eliminate carbon dioxide in the air and release oxygen in it’s place. A final way we help wilderness to help ourselves is by protecting different places of rich biodiversity to protect the biodiversity of that area. We protect the areas of rich biodiversity because we want to protect different organisms within that specific ecosystem. We protect these areas because we want to protect our butts. We don’t want to be the ones that let an animal or plant to go extinct on our watch. Our egocentric selves, it wouldn’t look good to have an animal go extinct without us being able to say “We did everything we could to protect it.”  

We need to sustain what we have left for wilderness. We have disturbed wilderness and now need to sustain what is left.  But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have, the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.” The way the EPA defines how sustainability is important because they define it will the anthropocentric ideals in mind. They want us to be able to sustain wilderness and the environment to “protect human health”. This key shows that we are only protecting our environment to better protect ourselves.  Noss states, “…a logical response to our quandary is to manage in a more ecologically sensible manner the “semi- natural matrix” that constitutes most of our land (Brown quoted in Noss). Noss is trying to form a plan that will help us to sustain the bits of wilderness that we have left.

We need to sustain wilderness to sustain biodiversity in different habitats and ecosystems. Sustainability isn’t just important for the biodiversity of a specific area, but also for our own resources that are required for different industries. “Its importance to sustaining resource-based industries such as agriculture, fishing, forestry and tourism cannot be overestimated” (Introduction – Sustaining Biodiversity). If we don’t sustain the wilderness, then we will not be able to profit from our different industries that require those specific resources to flourish and thrive. “…we have no choice: we must carefully sustain our biological resources if we are to prosper and to have a high quality of life” (Introduction – Sustaining Biodiversity). This statement is inferring that if we don’t sustain what we have then our quality of life will diminish, which is true. Agreeing with that statement, Bergstrom, Bowker and Cordell state, “The presence of Wilderness may also contribute to the overall social well-being and quality of life in human communities through recreational therapeutic religious or spiritual growth.”  This statement agrees with that if we don’t sustain the presence of wilderness then our well-being will diminish. If we don’t sustain what we have, we will continue to deplete what we have until it is all gone. Then once it is gone, we won’t be able to get it back, and will be force to find different ways to go about whatever that particular person was using wilderness for. Say, if you were using wilderness for recreation, you would have to find a new place to have fun. If you were using the wilderness for spirituality, then you’d need to find a new place to meditate. Without this place to meditate, then it could lead to depression, which would diminish your quality of life. If you used wilderness as a form of an escape, and wilderness wasn’t sustained, it could lead to depression because of how harsh realities are and without wilderness to escape to, you have no way of coping with them. If you used wilderness as a form of industry, your resources would be gone, so the industry will have to shut down because it would be too expensive to maintain. Finally, if you used wilderness through a job in agriculture or a job in a park you would lose your job and your quality of life would diminish greatly! In the case of agriculture, you don’t have the ability to continue to grow the crops that you need in order to provide for your family, which would cause a great stress on their life and lead to depression or an anxiety disorder. In the case of losing your job if you work at a recreational park, like a park ranger in Yellowstone, you would have to start over and look for a new job. Looking for a new job would become a stressor, which would diminish your quality of life, especially if you had specialized in something that related to wilderness or being a park ranger in any way and can’t use your skills in another profession. We can sustain through preservation and conservation. We need to preserve what we either haven’t yet used or have use but stopped. We need to preserve what we haven’t used yet so that it will be able to be viewed for generations to come. Sharma agrees, “We certainly ought to preserve and protect wilderness areas.” We need to preserve the parts of the wilderness that holds different endangered organisms, because we don’t know if the ecosystem will continue without it. If we don’t preserve what we have, we might well use it up until it is gone, and then we can never get it back. We need to conserve what we have already used, so that it doesn’t go extinct. According to Leopold, “Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.” Sustainability is greatly seen through conserving farmland. Farmers create harmony between men and land. Farmers till the land, and use crop rotation to better sustain the land. Crop rotation conserves different nutrients in the soil so that it can continue to be used for many years, instead of using the soil for only a couple years and then moving on. The practice of using the land for only a couple of years and then moving on is seen tremendously where the rainforest was. The farmers don’t conserve the land. They chop down the rainforest, use the soil until it’s nutrient depleted and then moves on to the next plot of land they can find. We also need to conserve the wilderness and the parks so that the generations that follow us can enjoy the wilderness like we did.

Why does wilderness matter to me?

Wilderness matters to me. I use the wilderness as a form of recreation, enjoyment, its aestetic appeal, and as a place of escape. Wilderness as a form of recreation allows me to do many different things. I will take my dogs on walks through the woods. I also like to run through different places, especially the woods. According to Thoreau, “When we walk we naturally go to the fields and woods.” I did cross-country in high school, and we got to run through different woods and on different trails. It was something I really came to enjoy. I don’t think I would enjoy it so much if it wasn’t in the wilderness, like running though a city sucks, especially when you can count the number of blocks you have already ran. But running out in the wilderness, there is no way that I can keep track of how far I have gone, I can only guess. I like not being able to know how far I have run, I just run until I want to turn around and then turn around and come back. Running through different trails is the most enjoyable form of recreation, for me by myself, in the wilderness. Wilderness is also aesthetically pleasing to me. It is always pretty. The beauty allows me to get absorbed in it. Running through the wilderness also allows me to escape from everyday realities. Because I can’t see different places it won’t remind me and then I don’t think about it.

Wilderness matters to me because I wouldn’t have had these following experiences if wilderness didn’t exist and wasn’t sustained to my generation. Wilderness also is a way for me to link memories from the past to the present, allowing me to reminisce on younger days. From the time I was little, I remember going out into my grandparents’ woods, hiking, picking flowers, walking their dogs, ice-skating on the pond, and just enjoying the time spent with them. The wilderness provided me with those memories. I lost my grandfather last summer and with him went all of my chances to make more memories. But the memories I did have the chance to make with him were cherished, and many of those memories involve the wilderness. But their woods continue to provide me with endless memories that are my favorite. Climbing Grandfather Mountain reminded me of a day in the woods at Gigi’s House. Another wilderness experience that I remember is biking through the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. The woods and a river running beside us, rushing against the rocks, was an experience that vaguely reminded me of climbing Hebron Rock Colony. Both experiences incorporated wilderness, and provided me with memories and stories that I will be able to tell my children one day. Canoeing on the Roanoke River reminded me of canoeing with my AP Biology class for a day, and kayaking reminded me of kayaking with one of my best friends on a hot summer’s day on the Susquehanna River. Although my experiences with wilderness were only in minimal amounts, these experiences were moments I treasure and will forever look back on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Bergstrom, John C., J. M. Bowker, and H. Cordell. “An Organizing Framework for Wilderness Values.” The Multiple Values of Wilderness. By John Bergstrom. Venture, (2005): 48-55. Web. 15 April 2013.

This chapter begins by defining wilderness. Then it transfers into a framework to measure wilderness values. Discussing in further detail, this article describes the different wilderness connections: value accounts, wilderness attributes, wilderness functions and wilderness services. It then goes into further detail about wilderness values. This articles main purpose is to show how everything in the wilderness has value, and can be broken down into its own distinct part of the framework.

 

Cronin, William. “The Trouble With Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature.” Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, New York: W. W. Norton & Co. (1995): 69-90. Web.

Cronin’s article begins by discussing the frontier and Western culture. He uses the ideals from the Western culture to drive his point that we have termed wilderness as wilderness, and thus we exclude wilderness from our day-to-day lives, only going to the wilderness as a place of recreation or spirituality. He uses examples of how men first looked at wilderness, and were afraid of it, and now people have lost their fear. He also touches on the paradox that we removed the Indian’s to create an “uninhabited wilderness”. He also relates environmental problems to poor people, because they are they ones usually affected by them. He concludes that we should embrace wilderness and take responsibility for the place we’re trying to sustain.

 

 “Introduction – Sustaining Biodiversity.” The State Of Victoria. 2013. Web. 21 April 2013.

 

Leopold, Aldo. “The Land Ethic.” A Sand County Almanac. 1948. Web. 15 April 2013.

The ethics is based on three elements: relation between individual, relations between individual and society, and evolutionary possibility and ecological necessity. The land ethic like all other ethics is based on community. If land conservation were based on economic self-interest, it would only work for people that want/need the economic gain not the ones looking out for the best interest of the land. He elaborates on the land pyramid. He finalizes his paper with the understanding of why a land ethic is so important.

 

Noss, Reed F. “Society for Conservation Biology: Sustainability and Wilderness.” Wiley for Society for Conservation Biology. JSTOR. Vol. 5, No. 1 (Mar., 1991), pp. 120-122. Web. 21 April 2013.

 

Roberts, Lynda. “A Conflict between Values.” 1-26. Web. 15 April 2013.

This article compares the anthropocentric verses the bio-centric ideal. It explains intrinsic verse extrinsic valued concepts along with the personal values of wilderness. It touches on the long-term goals that we could achieve if we weren’t so wrapped up in our short-term goals. It states that we need to change our consumption rates. Finally, it shows the importance of preserving the wilderness.

 

Sharma, Kishan Kumar. “World Tourism Today.” Sarup & Sons. (2004): 12. Web. 15 April 2013.

This page discusses the difference between an anthropocentric approach and a bio-centric approach. This piece moves on to further discuss the deep ecology perspective. This perspective includes both approaches in its discussion. It also captures the intrinsic values that wilderness possesses.

 

“The Wilderness Act of 1964.” Wilderness.net. The University of Montana. 2013. Web. 21 April 2013.

 

“What is Sustainability?” EPA: United States Environmental Protection Agency. EPA. 2013. Web. 21 April 2013.

 

“Wilderness.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster. 2013. Web. 21 April 2013.

 

 

 

Wilderness Manifesto Prospectus

Wilderness is an ongoing debate depending on what topic you’re fighting for or what ethic you are trying to further insight and protect. My wilderness manifesto, after careful development throughout this class, the readings, and past experiences, is based around anthropocentric sustainability. Some readings have called to my attention that although “wilderness” has been around since humans have, I never really realized that we had coined that term and all that is encompassed it in. Us terming wilderness, have accidently and purposely placed our imprint on wilderness. I feel that now that we have disturbed wilderness, we must sustain what we have disturbed, being careful to keep what we have. We need to sustain what we have in order to preserve what we have left and conserve what we have already used in hopes to reuse it.

I chose this ethical topic because I believe that we need to try and realize how we have affected and are currently are continuing to affect the wilderness. While wilderness would have been here whether or not we called it that, it is interesting that only after we started demolishing the wilderness did we turn around and proclaim that it was wrong for us to demolish it, and wilderness should be protected. It is interesting that we all need some piece of wilderness but we aren’t all willing to protect it. But with the interest this topic sparks, it also creates problems. It’s problematic because although we created it, at the rate we’re going, we will also be the ones to destroy it. Once the original wilderness is gone, it will be gone for good. Wilderness is significant because if we don’t do something about it, it will be gone and then it will be too late.

Although I am not that far along with my research, I expect to discover a lot of information. I am expecting to discover that that our ability to sustain wilderness is a lot more than we give ourselves credit for because we were to actually buckle down and conserve, there could be a different outcome. Although there would be a lot of change, I feel like we would be able to live on a lot less than we think.

Sources:

Bowker, J. M., and H. Cordell. “An Organizing Framework for Wilderness Values.” The Multiple Values of Wilderness. By John Bergstrom. Venture, (2005): 48-55. Web.

This chapter begins by defining wilderness. Then it transfers into a framework to measure wilderness values. Discussing in further detail, this article describes the different wilderness connections: value accounts, wilderness attributes, wilderness functions and wilderness services. It then goes into further detail about wilderness values. This articles main purpose is to show how everything in the wilderness has value, and can be broken down into its own distinct part of the framework.

Cronin, William. The Trouble With Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature. Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, New York: W. W. Norton & Co. (1995): 69-90. Web.

Cronin’s article begins by discussing the frontier and Western culture. He uses the ideals from the Western culture to drive his point that we have termed wilderness as wilderness, and thus we exclude wilderness from our day-to-day lives, only going to the wilderness as a place of recreation or spirituality. He uses examples of how men first looked at wilderness, and were afraid of it, and now people have lost their fear. He also touches on the paradox that we removed the Indian’s to create an “uninhabited wilderness”. He also relates environmental problems to poor people, because they are they ones usually affected by them. He concludes that we should embrace wilderness and take responsibility for the place we’re trying to sustain.

Leopold, Aldo. The Land Ethic. A Sand County Almanac. 1948. Web.

The ethics is based on three elements: relation between individual, relations between individual and society, and evolutionary possibility and ecological necessity. The land ethic like all other ethics is based on community. If land conservation were based on economic self-interest, it would only work for people that want/need the economic gain not the ones looking out for the best interest of the land. He elaborates on the land pyramid. He finalizes his paper with the understanding of why a land ethic is so important.

Roberts, Lynda. A Conflict between Values. 1-26. Web.

This article compares the anthropocentric verses the bio-centric ideal. It explains intrinsic verse extrinsic valued concepts along with the personal values of wilderness. It touches on the long-term goals that we could achieve if we weren’t so wrapped up in our short-term goals. It states that we need to change our consumption rates. Finally, it shows the importance of preserving the wilderness.

Sharma, Kishan Kumar. World Tourism Today. Sarup & Sons. (2004): 12. Web.

This page discusses the difference between an anthropocentric approach and a bio-centric approach. This piece moves on to further discuss the deep ecology perspective. This perspective includes both approaches in its discussion. It also captures the intrinsic values that wilderness possesses.

Analytical Reflection

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For the topic of the field note archive, reflecting on the various tactics to taking down reliable notes through the many essential parts. The easy part of writing this archive was writing about the basic information that needs to be gathered while taking field notes: who, what, where, when, and why. The difficult part to write was going into detail about the structure of each system of field notes. The best part of this piece is the incorporation of senses into taking field notes, and how important your senses are to other scientists analyzing your notes. With this field note archive, I hope to inform other people of the essential parts of good field notes, and to also better describe each type of structure of field note systems, so that they will better understand each and know when it is appropriate to use each type.

Taking viable field notes that another citizen scientist, like you, or perhaps a real scientist is able to understand is a real craft. In field notes, the essential basis is the principal of basic information gathering: who, what, where, when, and why. The “who” portion needs to be taken into account on the top of the notes, who is taking the notes, along with credentials, and who else is around. Who else is around could include other people or animals. The “what” portion should also be included in the field notes. What may refer to the main topic of the notes, the main overarching theme of what is conveyed or observed in these notes. The “where” portion is one of the most important components of the paper. Documenting where the field notes were observed allows other scientists to go to that location and devise their own set of field notes and own observations. The location of the field notes should be one of the most detailed areas of you notes, including, if available, a global positioning system coordinates. Also included in you location should be the sights around where you are taking field notes, like trees and other distinctive features, so that scientists are better able to pinpoint where they could further elaborate on the field notes from where you first started your observations. The “when” portion of your notes is rather simple. When should include the date and time of observations. The final portion of the basic information gathering would be “why”. There should be a purpose of taking these notes. What is trying to be accomplished with your observations of nature? With this final portion, you should try to give, with your purpose, an idea of what your trying to do with these notes, like what you hope these notes will help to accomplish. Another thing that should be included in these field notes is if you want these notes to be further elaborated on through science, or if these are just purely observations made for your own self. These observation and inferences should be explained with great detail, so to help differentiate the two. For an example where the explanation between observation and ideas further inferred would be the discovery of relationships such as symbiosis, competition, predation, parasitism, and mutualism. Each of these relationships was once taken down as observations of how each animal related to other animals or plants in its habitat and ecosystem. The observations allowed scientists to better understand the niche of each animal in the ecosystem and how their niche relates to the others to have a fully functioning ecosystem. We would’ve never found this relationship by accident; we needed some form of scientific observations to refer back on and start to analyze. The observation purpose can also include the method of data collection for future experiments.

Another thing that is essential for field notes is the use of your senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. When describing your observations through the five senses that every normal human is given, it will help other people relate to your observations, thus allowing them to better interpret and draw conclusions. Describing your experiences allows lay and highly educated people to understand and sympathize with what you had experienced and take down in your notes. People can understand thoughts extremely well if you take your field notes through your five senses. It also helps you to better remember what you were experiencing. For example, I took notes when we were at River Park North through my senses, recording what I heard, saw, and felt. When I go back to reread my field notes, the different senses I describe throw me back to the memories I made there. It instantaneously allows me to remember exactly how I was feeling at the time and place at River Park North. Taking descriptive notes, noting all five senses and where you experienced each sense, enables the reader to feel as if they are experiencing that same place and sensations. They also may be more encouraged to go to that place to see if they can experience those same feelings that they read about in your field notes.

Upon taking your notes, reflecting on them is another vital part of taking field notes. Giving these reflections allows other people reading your field notes a better understanding of your brain processes and interpretations. A scientist reading other peoples personal reflections that capture their own opinion could strike home with their ideas and further ensures their ideals. Although the opposite take can also be true. If the opinions of the reflection are opposite of those of the scientist, then the reflector’s opinion allows the scientist to gather a more worldlier opinion of wilderness. Another thing that reflections may allow is the ability for further discussions between people. These reflections may lead into a different topic discussion or a discussion on various views of the specific topic. These different responses to the reflection may cause you to reevaluate your own opinions or it could just further engrave you feelings towards the topic. If the different topics do not align with your opinions, then the differing opinion may be used as a counter argument for future discussions.

The purpose of field notes is to take down information that will then be used later to reflect on what had happened and draw conclusions from these observations. Field notes also made me much more aware of my surroundings. Field notes allow the note taker to gather all the information, including minuet details, which could otherwise be forgotten throughout the daily hustles and bustles of life. The function of field notes is to give reference back to what had happened to allow further information to be gathered and related to the observations. The function also allows other people to help develop their thoughts.

The structure of the system reveals what the scientists want to discover with their field notes and what they want to elaborate on. Usually, the observations are centralized around one topic, the first topic mentioned. There are three different types: Grinnell, Mapping and Sensing.  The Grinnell system is used greatly for the scientific approach. The Grinnell approach is used for highly educated people, because they are able to pick up the minor details while taking their notes and then is able to string all of those thoughts together in paragraph form later that day. Mapping is when you start with something in the middle and work your way out, connecting each thing to the middle one in one way or in different subtopics. This system allows us to see all the interconnections. Finally, the senses systems tell you what you are feeling about the wilderness. I prefer the senses method of taking field notes because it allows me to connect everything back to my senses and create long lasting memories.

Final Copy: Letter

Abe and Lynne Howard

2028 Pheasant Ridge Road

Lewisburg, PA 17837

 

Dear Abe, Lynne, Perie and Mason,

            Although all of you know I went to Boone on a trip with my Wilderness Writing Class, I never did give you details about how the trip actually progressed. The trip started about four hours earlier than expected. We ended up leaving at 8 am instead of the planned 12 because the weather was expected to get bad later that night.  Leaving early would allow us to arrive at Boone, go to the grocery store and then arrive at the house before dark.

            The ride to Boone, in the 15-passenger van, was interesting. The ride started off smooth. You know our trips to the beach and how we don’t stop until the North Carolina line? Well because I was used to riding in the car like that, sucking it up if you had to pee because you weren’t at the state line yet, it made the car trip to Boone really hard for me. It was supposed to take up about six hours to get to Boone, but ended up taking us eight. We did pretty well the first half of the trip, with our first stop being an eventful one. We were in Greensboro, trying to get to a kid in our classes house to pick up pork for dinner one night, when the van made a turn 250 yards too early. We ended up going down a driveway. In the process of us trying to turn around, we drove into standing water. Naturally, we got stuck. Tires spinning and mud flying, a couple of the guys in the other car and our teacher’s husband went out to try and push the van. The tires dug deeper and deeper. We all piled out of the car, trying to lighten the load, but it didn’t help. One of the next-door neighbors, seeing us stuck, came out to ask if there was anything he could do. A couple of us, wanting to stretch our legs, figured we would walk to our classmate’s house to pick up the pork barbeque. As we started down the road we ended up crossing paths with the other truck and were forced to go back to the stuck van. Arriving back at the van, we saw the neighbor had brought back a tractor and pulled our stuck beast out of the muck. After we all had piled back into the car, we headed on to lunch. After an hour at lunch we rode a little while longer until we arrived at Harris Teeter in Boone. We jammed out our grocery store list, breaking up into our groups and buying the meal our group had planned out. My group was in charge of making chili one night. During check out, we helped the cashier to figure out how to break up the check and how each individual student was going to pay. We were kind of demanding in how the checkout was going to go down, but that what happens when a bunch of “Type A” Honors students come together. Then we were back on the road, onward to the house we would be staying in.

            After everyone was in and settled, we had class and took personality tests. Everyone took theirs and then put their names under their personality on a white board. We then broke up into our each personality group. In this group we had to look up what our personality was like, who, famous people were like us, and what career path we should choose. My personality trait was an ESFJ. This means that I’m an extrovert. I have a preference of sensing over intuition. The F means that I make my decisions off of feeling verses thinking. The J means that I am judgmental instead of perceiving situations and people. ESFJ’s are generally called “caregivers”. I feel a caregiver reflects my personality well. Most people that have this personality, according to our group research, are generally public healthcare workers. I feel that having this personality is a positive reflection given my career path of nursing.

            After we reflected on our own personality types within our groups, we collected again as a class to have a discussion. With all the different personality types all clustered together, the personality type E-J mainly dominated the discussion because these people speak their minds unlike the introverted personalities and make judgmental decisions instead of perceiving the surroundings. With this group discussion, we ended up reflecting about how we think the different personalities will mesh in the woods.
            In the woods, we ended up meshing way better than I could’ve ever expected. Our class played off each other really well; making sure that everyone was accounted for and safe. We started off that day early, out on the road on the way to Grandfather Mountain around 9:00 am. It was a cold morning, with hardly any sun shining and windy. We started up the mountain like there was a fire set on our heels. Slowly as each pair of students found their pace, the space in-between classmates grew further. While Kate and a couple of other people raced up the side of the mountain, Corrie and I slowed our pace after we needed to shed multiple layers, and then stopped to take pictures and absorb the beauty of wilderness all around us. But we kept trekking up the mountain.

The first part of the hike was harder than the section that was supposed to be more difficult and uphill. In the first half of the hike, the trail kept doubling back, creeping up the side of the mountain. This part of the hike reminded me of hiking through Gigi’s woods, like hiking back to the pond or further. We stopped at “The Profile” where you could see Grandfather Mountain’s profile of the face. That was when the air got a wee bit chillier and the ground got icier as we were climbing up different rocks and finagling our way up. There was more snow up there, which was pretty but kept the air nippy. We kept hiking on up to the next destination: a natural spring. Some people got water from the spring and described it as mossy tasting, but I hadn’t drank any water so didn’t need to fill up my water bottle.  The icicles that hung off the rock behind the natural spring were gorgeous. They were ginormous! We continued on up the mountain. When we finally got to the very top you could see the whole valley! It was craziness! We ate on a rock at the top of the mountain.

Upon finishing lunch, we started our descension. Going down the mountain was about a hundred and fifty times easier than traveling up. We flew down the mountain in a much shorter amount of time than it took us to get up the mountain. I think it was partly because everybody was eager to get back and were much happier campers on the trek down with our full bellies and new-found wind. After we got to the bottom of the mountain, he rest of the day was pretty uneventful, having only lost one adult on our way down for a minor ten minutes. Losing the one adult made me think back to when we lost Emmilou and the Rippons in the woods at Gigi and Grandpops during the fourth of July. Then Sherri went running into the woods, but not on any form a path and we ended up looking for her after finding the kids. The guy that was lost kind of came back where we all gathered, like Emmilou came out of the woods like she’d never been lost at all.  But man-o-man people crashed that night. Everybody turned in early, plus we had an even more exciting day planned for the morning.

            The next morning, I woke up groggy with soreness in muscles I didn’t even know I had. But all that aside, there was a fever in the house. Everybody was light and jittery because of the excitement! We all knew that Hebron Rock Colony was dangerous, but with the way Dr. Egan’s eyes lit up when describing it gave everyone excitement to try it out. On the way to Hebron, I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous. I didn’t want to re-twist my ankle or fall off a rock and die. But once I got there, I realized I really didn’t have to be scared, but instead could just go about climbing the rocks with common sense, planning out different moves ten moves in advance. After beginning the climb, I realized it was harder than I expected, granted these were like car-sized boulders with a river running in-between. So while you are watching out for ice to slip on, you also have to make sure not to misstep or underestimate a distance. Once I got going jumping from rock to rock the adrenaline started pumping throughout my body. Climbing up these rocks reminded me greatly of Soldier Park, or “wrock-park” as Perie used to call it. I used to think those were some big formations – its got nothing on Hebron! Remember when we got older, and trying to jump in-between the two formations became the new challenge. As Corrie and I took on Hebron Rock Colony rock by rock, we slowly got to the top.  The middle section was one part where we got stuck. There was a place we could cross to continue up to the top, but the problem was we didn’t know whether that area was safe or if the rock was covered in ice. That’s when a couple of kids who had already conquered the colony came back down to help us cross. They tested the rock so we knew whether or not it was slick and when we found out it wasn’t, we crossed. That little slip up was what I thought was the most difficult part of the whole climb up. As Corrie and I continued to climb, reaching little paths of forest as the rocks zigzagged across the river, we continued to turn around to see where we had come from and looked back with a sense of triumph. Upon reaching the top of Hebron, Corrie and I had such an adrenaline rush. We met up with Kate and Taylor and continued our climb onward and upward to this little island that was beyond the rock colony. We climbed through a crack that was a giant rock leaned up on the banks outside the river. As we crossed through that mossy and damp wedge in-between two rocks, I realized even more how exhilarating this climb was. We got to where we could cross onto the little island, but it forced us to cross a piece of river by means of a path made from uneven rocks leading to a fallen tree trunk to which we could jump onto the island. When we got onto that little island, Corrie and I did sit ups and push-ups at the top, just so we could say we did!  

On the descent from the top, we stopped to take pictures for some of the guys, and then watched Chris shimmy up a tree trunk like a monkey! Then,we headed back, but not without stopping to take some pictures and all congregating to write and reflect on our experiences on Hebron. The trek back wouldn’t be a complete experience without me falling AT LEAST once! Classic Sydney! But we got back to the car and headed home. I thought that yesterday’s hike had caused everyone to crash, but Hebron’s Rock Colony hike had everyone crashed and burned out. That day was by far my favorite because not only was the weather absolutely gorgeous, but also the hiking was so much fun!

            The final day, we went out to a house that had a bunch of paths running though it’s land, kind of like Gigi’s shorter trails where we take Holly and Stoney on walks. One particular path we took was going to take us to the stables because, naturally, I wanted to see the horses. Although we never made it there, I was still traveling with a bounce in my step even though it was rather chilly out because once we got back to our central meeting place, we were going to go sledding at a nearby hill! Some of our classmates were already there sledding, so when we joined them it was just a grand ol’party! We had races as a class and I went down on my belly once too! During one of our races as a class, Corrie and Kate were on one sled and Katherine, a junior, and I were on the other when we grabbed ahold of the sleds and ended up crashing. Our crash was a blessing in disguise though because we didn’t have to hike back up that huge hill!

            I hope you enjoyed reading about all my new adventures in Boone. I want to go with y’all one day to Hebron! Hopefully in the summer because I think it would be way more fun. Either way the trip was a blast!

 

                                                                        Love and miss you guys,

                                                                                    Sydney

Trip Reflection

Sorry, I had this in my daybook and forgot to post it!

I thoroughly enjoyed the Boone Trip. Although I didn’t enjoy how could it was, I did think the snow was pretty, from an inside view. I enjoyed how much we used our personalities to reflect on ourselves, and our actions in the wilderness. I know that I caught myself at multiple points taking on a role as a minor caregiver. Making sure everyone was accounted for and nobody got left behind. It seemed as if everyone’s personalities were on high.

            My experiences that influenced my definition of wilderness the most were hiking Grandfather Mountain and Hebron Rock Colony. Hiking Grandfather Mountain didn’t really impact my definition of wilderness too much because I still consider wilderness away from society. So in the beginning of the Grandfather Mountain hike, I didn’t really consider the beginning part of the trail to be complete wilderness, because you could still hear the rumble of the cars on the roads behind you. But once we got higher in elevation that area falls under my definition of wilderness. When climbing Hebron Rock Colony, I didn’t really think of climbing rocks as being a part of the wilderness. But now that I have experienced climbing Hebron, I’m forced to reevaluate my portrayal of what wilderness, extending my definition to include climbing car-sized boulders as a part of wilderness. Finally, sledding down a hill wasn’t by any means, to me, considered wilderness of any form, and after sledding on Saturday, I still wouldn’t consider it a part of wilderness. Rather, I would consider sledding a fun recreation during the winter months.

            My understanding of wilderness and its values changed during this trip. I came to better understand that when out in the wilderness, attitude has a lot to do with how much, or how little you’re going to enjoy the wilderness and it’s beauty. I know I had a much more positive attitude towards Hebron Rock Colony than I did when hiking Grandfather Mountain. I also know that because I had a much more positive attitude when bouldering, I have a stronger association to being in the wilderness and having more fun participating in that particular event. With regards to hiking Grandfather Mountain, it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it; I didn’t start off the hike with as positive of an attitude, which reflected my feelings towards it. Because I started off the hike with a bad attitude, I didn’t enjoy that aspect of the wilderness as much. I think that when I have a better attitude I tend to take in all the positive scenery around me, which boosts my moral and puts me into an even better mood. The attitude I started the day with greatly reflected how much I enjoyed each day’s adventures. Another thing that impacted my understanding of wilderness and its values was my realization about how much teamwork is a big part of succeeding in the wilderness. Although some people flourish on their own, not necessarily needing teamwork, I discovered that I, personally, enjoy the wilderness and all it has to offer much more with other people than if I were to go out alone.

            Through all of this, I have extended my definition and values of wilderness.