Harpers Ferry, WV (March 18, 2013) – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has selected Cassandra Kessman to serve as the volunteer ambassador to the designated Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community of Pawling and Dover, New York. She will serve as a community liaison to the ATC and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference to encourage volunteerism and stewardship of the Trail at the local level. This year there are 17 ambassadors serving 15 different communities along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.).
“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is excited about building its volunteer base by providing A.T. Ambassadors to designated A.T. Communities to help increase local stewardship of public lands and support healthy lifestyles for community citizens,” stated Julie Judkins, Community Program Manager of the ATC.
Kessman has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She works part-time for the Pawling Nature Preserve as their Education Director and at Native Landscapes, a landscaping company in walking distance of the A.T. She has a love for gardening and native plants. Kessman has also hiked sections of the Trail in five states and looks forward to learning more about the A.T. during her time as an A.T. Community™ Ambassador.
The Appalachian Trail Community™ program is designed to recognize communities that promote and protect the A.T. Towns, counties, and communities along the A.T.’s corridor are considered assets by A.T. hikers and many of these towns act as good friends and neighbors to the Trail. The program serves to assist communities with local initiatives such as sustainable economic development through tourism and outdoor recreation, while preserving and protecting the A.T. Since the program’s inception in 2010, 28 communities have been designated with 5-10 communities expected to be entered into the program in 2013.
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. The A.T. is a unit of the National Park System, stretching from Georgia to Maine, at approximately 2,180 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. Volunteers typically donate more than 220,000 hours of their time doing trail-related work each year and about 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year.
About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information please visit www.appalachiantrail.org.
Contact: Julie Judkins
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 828.254.3708 x11
Email: [email protected]