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.
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.
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.
More Stories from the Coast
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In a changing climate, protecting connected woods and waters becomes increasingly important to help plants and animals survive.
“I immediately fell in love with the people and the land and now I want to do whatever I can to help out.”
2023 MCHT Richard G. Rockefeller Conservation Intern Daniel Snider recounts his summer spent on MDI monitoring trails up and down the coast.
Bailey Bowden, from Penobscot, Maine, brings numerous talents and skills to his role at River Monitor for the Bagaduce