In many ways, the atmosphere at the Watershed Center mirrors the natural beauty that envelopes the park. As summer draws to an end, the dog-day heat lulls me into a short recovery from the seasons many camps, fundraisers, and events. Even though the heat fades slowly, that first crisp morning where you can see your breath always seems sudden. As autumn breaks, I am energized by the cool morning air and warm sunny afternoons. The Watershed Center fills with energy from thousands of school children and volunteers and we explore the trails and the water during field trips that occur by the handfuls every week. The leaves change and become ever more intense as we reach more and more students every day, and field trips begin to overlap classroom visits and Jordan creek tours and volunteer meetings and staff events. As the fall colors reach a stunning crescendo, my energy takes on roller-coaster fluctuations, peaking when the kids arrive in the morning, and crashing as the bus pulls away. The strength of my voice wanes, my eyes become heavy, and my plans become jumbled and difficult to keep track of.

Then, in an instant, the leaves begin to fall. One afternoon the colors are all around, and the next morning more trees are bare than covered. In disbelief, I scan the calendar and see blank days taking over as the month goes on. Can it be true? Is today really free? As if the seasons have heard my inner thoughts, I am swept up into the season of rest and recharge, of projects and maintenance, of reconnecting to my network of colleagues and volunteers.

We have had a seriously successful field trip this season with only a few left to go. I have had the opportunity to work with several new volunteers, and touch base with the faithful volunteers who have more years here than I do. I want to thank everyone who has helped this season. It has been a blast and we have great things coming our way this fall and winter. Spring will bring fresh leaves from the snow and with it new kids field trips. Until then, its time for slow walks on the trail, reflecting on our successes (aka filling out spreadsheets), and taking care of neglected projects around the site.

Thanks for reading,

Rob Hunt, Watershed Center Coordinator

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