Forestry intern (1978)
The Great Mountain Forest has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a small child, our backyard bordered a GMF stand of red pine. My siblings and I would often play there, making forts and exploring the paths through the many pruned-off branches. I also remember riding with my Dad (Darrell Russ) in his truck over the gravel woods roads as he would tell funny stories or sing songs from the 1930s and 40s. When I was college age I worked on the forest summer crew performing such tasks as shearing Christmas trees, mowing between the Christmas tree rows, splitting cord wood, and working in the saw mill.
I have lived in North Carolina since 1980 and am currently working with a County environmental department on air pollution issues. I credit my experiences at GMF as having a major influence in my decision to pursue a career doing environmental work.
When I was a kid growing up in and around the Great Mountain Forest, I considered that type of environment to be normal. Now, of course, I realize just how special GMF really is. In my current suburban location, any small patch of remaining woodland is likely to be cut down and paved the next time I drive by. It is nice to know that there is at least one beautiful woodland in northwest Connecticut that I can count on to remain forested!
Senior Environmental Specialist, Forsyth County (NC) Office of Environmental Assistance and Protection