Lessons From the Hill

By 2023 MCHT Richard G. Rockefeller Conservation Intern Sadie Woodruff

My name is Sadie Woodruff, and I am a rising sophomore at Wesleyan University, studying environmental science and biology. I graduated from Camden Hills in 2022 and have lived in Camden for the last eight years. I applied to many internships for this summer, not understanding what many of them were, just knowing they were in Maine, and would let me be outside. When I interviewed for this internship and discovered that my chosen host site was the land trust that owned and cared for my favorite spot in this world, I was overjoyed. I loved the prospect of giving back to and learning from the place that gave so much to me over these last few years.

Sadie W Second Round Blog Posts


When I am home, Beech Hill is my escape. When school shut down in 2020, and I couldn’t see my friends but needed to get out, this is where I went. I would take my dog, get in my car, and go to Beech Hill. Even if I had already hiked miles in the state park or on Ragged Mountain earlier in the day, I would walk up to watch the sunset if I could. This place was my sanctuary during these years and was with me as I grew as a person and an environmentalist. With consistent beauty in its views, biodiversity, and people, this hill became a second home. A comforting sight, no matter how many times I saw it.

Me eating blueberries as I run the welcome booth of our community free pick

Coming home from school for my first summer and starting to work on Beech Hill, I learned so much about this place that as a frequent visitor, I never knew. From talking to birders on the hill, I learned just how many bird species occupy the fields and forests. From being in the fields and watching the ground rather than the horizon, I learned that more than one species of snake inhabits the hill (I’ve seen two so far!). From watching their persistent spread, I learned of all the non-native plants that have found their way to Beech Hill. From my supervisors, who watch biological signs to schedule our annual community free pick, I learned of the wood lily that blooms two weeks before the blueberries arrive. From unloading the art kiosk that lives on the top of the hill, I learned of the inspiration and imagination it instils in the community. From spending countless workdays here, I learned about the many hours it takes to steward this land. Most importantly from all these experiences and individuals I learned just how many people feel the same way I do about this place. It may not be the tallest mountain, or the most strenuous hike, but it is a constant place for everyone to be present—a place to enjoy nature, music, friends, and family.

I cannot imagine a more worthwhile mission than ensuring that people can continue to grow these meaningful relationships with the land for generations to come.