E-club was back at the Steger Wilderness Center, although not in an official capacity, which is a good indication of its dedication to this particular environmental cause. Members of the Environmental Club at the Cambridge campus of Anoka Ramsey Community College rearranged work schedules and set aside a long weekend during their summer break to come up and work at the Steger Center. Joining them were equally dedicated faculty members, Melanie Waite-Altrip and Andy Aspaas, who pitched in while exploring partnership opportunities with the Steger Wilderness Center.
It was two days of wood and stone for this crew. On Friday they set about completing the firewood mission begun in late April when the e-club was here last to harvest wood from the forest. The next phase was given over to splitting and stacking all that wood in order to supply the entire Homestead through the winter. By Friday’s end storage sheds were bursting with wood and the odor of it being freshly split.
Saturday came with rain, but the e-clubbers were undeterred. Stone recently quarried from a fractured ridge in the forest had to be hauled out rain or shine. From past experience they knew the best method for removal lay in the process of assembly, so they spread out between rock pile within and the road at the edge of the forest. Buckets with handles were added and through a bucket brigade that defied the rain and the rugged terrain, another deposit of Ely green stone was made into the stone mason’s bank account.
At the end of each work day interns, apprentices, and e-clubbers, representing three different organizations but sharing a common cause, converged first on the lodge and then Hobo Village for some eat and greet time, just as countless dedicated folks have done before them, since the day that Will first arrived nearly 50 years ago. They all came together as one caring community, but if the past is any indication, this was not merely a gathering of good-hearted and hungry individuals who sacrifice their free time for a good cause, this was a fellowship of future leaders.
By Peter Wahlstrom