Change on the Trail
Hannah Ritch first hiked on the A.T.as a child with her father. About five years ago, she started hiking regularly with a group of coworkers. This year, she decided to make the Trail a bigger part of her life and began volunteering. First, she adopted a monitoring site on Peter's Mountain in Pennsylvania, which she visits on a regular basis as part of ATC's phenology program.
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Phenology is the study of the life-cycle stages of plants and animals. Hannah records data on six trees of three different species at the site and has contributed more than eight hundred observations to the A.T. project of the USA-National Phenology Network.
Over the past summer, Hannah also started volunteering at ATC’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Office in Boiling Springs, PA, where she put in many hours talking with thru- and section-hikers and helping other visitors. Hannah says, "I love it when visitors come into the office, and say, 'Isn't there some kind of hiking trail around here?'" Kelly McGinley, ATC office administrator, praises her "super-positive attitude and real love for the A.T.”
Hannah works in long-term care in Harrisburg, PA. She recently joined the Susquehanna A.T. Club, has participated in hikes and a club work trip, and is looking forward to doing more with the club.
"I'm blessed to live within 30 minutes of many trailheads, and I go out as often as I can," Hannah says. "Volunteering is important to me because I like knowing that I can have an impact on helping the A.T. to be around for years to come, knowing that it is taken care of, and helping new people learn more about it."