Sunday, March 21, 2010

ELS Retreat in the Catskills

I spent this weekend in the Catskills at a region-wide Environmental Law Society Retreat. That I was able to go at all was a fluke, the two students from VLS scheduled to go both ended up having conflicts that precluded them from attending. I responded to a last-minute email sent out to ELS members, inquiring in anyone would be interested in attending in their place. Apparently I was the only student who took the initiative and who actually had the weekend free. The retreat was held at the YMCA campus in Frost Valley. It was gorgeous, and our lodge was really rustic and fun. The only sad event occurred early on, within minutes of walking in, I was just saying hello to everyone when we heard a loud THUMP, a white-breasted nuthatch had collided with the lodge's high windows, and dropped down to the deck. When it was apparent that it was dead, not just stunned, we moved the poor bird off the deck.
Luckily, that wasn't indicative of the type of weekend we'd have. We all introduced ourselves and shared our backgrounds the first night over a campfire. The next morning, following breakfast, we all went for a hike to a gorgeous waterfall. The robins were out in abundance, everywhere I looked, there were robins feeding in the dry grass. Then after lunch and some time enjoying the gorgeous and unseasonable weather, we sat down to talk shop. Each school represented discussed what ELS does at their school, and the most interesting current events. Then we talked about summer internships and externships, revealing how positions were gotten, and offering up contacts from previous jobs to those who would be interested in applying in the future.
The night was kicked off with a special sneak preview of a new nature film being released, and s’mores. The film was great, everyone was ohh-ing and ahh-ing or cracking up. Finally, a round or two of Environmental Law Jeopardy ended the night, with questions like, which state holds the most Superfund Sites? (Answer, NJ)
The 5 hour drive each way by myself was just fine, I passed through many interesting places,saw the World’s Largest Garden Gnome, and generally enjoyed the time out of SoRo.

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