September 23, 2022
Brady Rudh has been part of the NMU Conservation Crew (CC) since August 2019. However, when you hear him talk about the group, you’d think he’s always been a part of it.
Rudh highlighted the most visible elements of the Conservation Crew, such as outreach and environmental activism, as well as the relaxing and “revitalizing” parts of hiking.
“The CC is a club that people go to to unwind from their daily stressors while creating positive change in their community, and I hope that reputation continues,” said Rudh. “I hope that the CC will continue to be a warm and welcoming environment long after I graduate.”
Rudh added that the Conservation Crew isn’t just about hiking and protecting the environment. He cited the group as a place where he learned how to plan events and work in a team, and highlighted the opportunity to teach others new skills as a particularly rewarding experience.
Brianna Elizondo, a third-year member, points to the most spontaneous events as the most rewarding parts of the group. This included nightly explorations of the Eben Ice Caves, interacting at the farmer’s market after a morning on the trails, and various activities like ice skating and skiing.
According to Elizondo, the group will participate in Hike October, an annual campaign that the group participates in every year. It lasts the entire month of October with the goal of raising money for mental health research and caring for hiking trails. After a set mileage goal, the crew undertakes numerous group walks throughout the month and accepts individual mileage submissions from students.
Ceirighen Gill, a CC co-leader, added weekly events such as group hikes, garbage picking and trail maintenance, which the group will continue throughout the semester.
“We can offer many opportunities for casual hikers to get outdoors, as well as opportunities for conservationists to make a big impact both socially and conservationally,” Gil said.
In addition to group hikes and environmental workshops, the largest group trip of the group is imminent.
This October, a group of no more than 25 students will be heading to Jay Cooke State Park in Duluth, Minnesota to camp for the weekend and visit the Great Lakes Aquarium. They also plan to explore the surrounding wilderness areas. The trip is funded by proceeds from plant sales, which pay for transportation, camping, and admission to the aquarium.
With three of the crew’s longtime executives graduating by next year, Elizondo is hoping for further expansion of the group across campus.
“The most rewarding part of being part of the Conservation Crew is the connections I get to make within the campus and community,” said Elizondo. “I’ve met so many students from disciplines I wouldn’t have in my classes, and it’s nice to see so many familiar faces when I’m on campus.”