"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s
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The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms
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— John Muir

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FIELD NOTES: EDUCATING FOR THE WILD

Adirondack Wild Assists Union College Research Fellows
By Dave Gibson, Managing Partner Adirondack Wild

  https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/DSC1511-300x200.jpg
Sanan Hajiyev, left, Union College Research Fellow, with Dave in front of Verplanck Colvin painting at the Adirondack Research Library, KAC, Union College. Photo by Margie Amodeo, Union College KAC.

Union College research fellows Anna and Sanan delivered outstanding presentations on August 1, 2018 to a packed audience at the Kelly Adirondack Center of Union College.

Anna Gagion, Class of 2019, Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Policy, addressed “Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks: From Fighting Fires to Helping Hikers.” She spoke fresh from her interview and hike up Baxter Mountain in Keene with legendary former Forest Ranger Peter Fish. She’s headed north and south to the Catskills soon to interview more rangers, including the first full-time female Forest Ranger Patti Rudge. Many of the 15 female Forest Rangers currently on the force (fewer than 10 % of all DEC field rangers) have responded to Anna’s questionnaire. The history, mission, currency and present challenges of the DEC Forest Rangers will remain a special research focus for Anna throughout her coming senior year. The determination she has to comprehensively examine the Forest Ranger mission and duties today and the appreciation that many Rangers are no doubt showing for her research focus shone throughout her presentation.

Sanan Hajiyev, Class of 2019, Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Policy, addressed “The Adirondacks and the Ecological Moral Compass.” He painted a picture of conditions needed for human beings to arrive at an understanding that wild nature has an inherent moral standing in the universe. He quoted Aldo Leopold that conservation will only make gains if we start to view nature as a community to which we belong and not a commodity to be exploited. We come from nature, he said, we are not above it. Sanan referred often to Adirondack conservation leaders like John Apperson and Paul Schaefer and to Article XIV, “Forever Wild,” as well as to many philosophic thinkers over the centuries. His heart spoke to us when he answered a question of how he arrived at his own ecological moral compass. He answered that the influence came early in his own life when he and his family fully explored their native country Azerbaijan. Positive exposures to nature in childhood are crucial to an ecological moral compass, he told his audience, or we go through life with a deeply ingrained idea of separateness from nature. When the moral compass is not granted or never found, Sanan quoted Pogo: “we have met the enemy, and he is us.”

It was a privilege to meet Sanan prior to his presentation and to attempt to answer his provocative questions. He will be spending the fall semester exploring people, culture, good food and nature in Vietnam.



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2018


08/02/18 Adirondack Wild Assists Union College Research Fellows read more >
04/06/18 More On Inner Gooley Club
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03/31/18 A Fence Full of Car Parts in Baker’s Mills
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01/03/18 The Last, Lost Colvin Survey Report of 1898 read more >

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The mission of Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is to advance New York’s ‘Forever Wild’ legacy and Forest Preserve policies in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, and promote public and private land stewardship that is consistent with wild land values through education, advocacy and research.

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