Sussex County Community College students, in the Foundations for Success course, volunteered their time and effort to spend a day as an Appalachian Trail work crew, part of the course’s Road Trip requirement. This year’s crew worked at the High Point shelter—clearing deadfall, cutting grass, and performing general trail maintenance to the shelter and water source.
This year’s crew included SCCC President Dr. Jon Connolly, attending at the invitation of course instructor George Lightcap. “Dr. Connolly’s energy and enthusiasm—his desire to connect with our students—gave me the idea to offer him and our students a unique opportunity to work and fellowship together in an equally unique environment,” Lightcap said. “This also gives him the opportunity to dust off his Forest Science degree to provide expertise and insight for our walk in the woods.”
The nine-student crew, Dr. Connolly, Lightcap, and shelter maintainer/Wantage resident Alan Breach carried in tools for the mile-long walk on the Trail to High Point shelter. “I was impressed that Dr. Connolly was willing to dedicate a Sunday to hiking the Appalachian Trail with our group,” student Jilyssa Stevens commented. “It shows his commitment to our education. His knowledge of the biology of trees and plants, including diseases that threaten them, was fascinating. It also demonstrates that he is interested in getting to know us as individuals. I found him to be a pleasant and engaging person.”
“It is truly special when a college experience includes getting students into the natural world to collaborate and contribute to the legacy of something as important and unique as the Appalachian Trail,” Dr. Connolly reflected.
Photo: The Foundations for Success 2016 Appalachian Trail Work Crew: Front: Derek Miebach, Abigail Roberts, Rachel Yuroshek, Julie Warner. Standing: Shelter Maintainer Alan Breach, Jon Kozmoski, Jon Nelson, Prof. George Lightcap, Jilyssa Stevens, James Gramuglia, Dr. Jon Connolly, Ben Liegner