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Working Hard at Work Worth Doing: A SAWS Testimonial

Nathan Mynatt was an intern on the 2013 Wilderness Conservation Corps (WCC) crew. He is currently a senior studying Political Science at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. Nathan has loved spending time in wild places since he was 11 years old, so he was looking for a way to spend a lot of time in the backcountry when he came to SAWS. He also wanted to feel a sense of accomplishment in his work. His season with SAWS engaged in Wilderness stewardship gave him the perfect opportunity to combine his passion for wilderness and sense of duty to the community.

Nathan takes a break to climb a tree in the Linville Gorge Wilderness.

Far and away, the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.

— Theodore Roosevelt

My summer on the Wilderness Conservation Corps crew with SAWS was perhaps the best of my life, due to the people I had the pleasure of working with and the beautiful environment in which we were working. The work was certainly challenging, and by Day 7 of most hitches, I was convinced that I had lost my marbles a couple of miles back. However, it was in those times of exhaustion that I found many of the things which made the summer so remarkable.

My internship with SAWS started at the Wilderness Skills Institute (WSI), which was a great way to start the work season. The WSI allowed us to ease into the work schedule, learn the necessary skills in an enjoyable environment, and build a sense of camaraderie. As the work season progressed, it was the grueling 9-day hitches, spent with my crewmates and our fearless leader, that stand out for teaching me so much about nature, human and otherwise. Over the course of 5 hitches, we evolved into a highly effective team and I learned an immense amount about the work we were doing. I also felt that I had become part of an incredible community full of people who insisted upon living honestly. I hope to be back with SAWS this upcoming summer to continue my work with such a progressive organization and help build the community that surrounds it.

Nathan (bottom right) and the 2013 Wilderness Conservation Corps crew one their way to the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness.

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