IMG_4340 Before coming to the Steger Wilderness Center, Jake Potts went to Anoka Ramsey Community College and worked as a driver for UPS. The 26 year-old Coon Rapids, Minnesota, native first heard about the center through Peter Walhstrom, one of his professors at Anoka Ramsey.
Jake has been up to the center twice before this summer, for Ice Ball and a Boundary Waters Canoe Area excursion with Peter that he enjoyed.
His first impression of Will was that he’s a mysterious and private guy. Jake believes the center is a wilderness base for like-minded people to come work and learn from each other. “The actual function of the property is to be a homebase for people who have an interest in preserving or conserving wilderness and learning how to live sustainably,” he said.
This summer will be Jake’s first long-term stay at the center. With previous experience in underground telecommunication construction, he said, “this is by far the most versatile construction experience I’ve had so far.”
When Will needs someone to operate the bobcat, Jake is his go-to guy. “Once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy,” he said. “One time I was backing out of Will’s driveway and I got a little too close to the edge.”
The other interns and apprentices can rely on Jake for being conscientious of what’s happening at the job site, what needs to happen next, and how to delegate work that needs to be done. Jake has grown into a leadership position at the center and has a sense of urgency when it comes to completing the task at hand.
Jake’s hoping to gain peace of mind and meet new people this summer. “I was kind of a hermit with work during the winter. I didn’t have a lot of social interaction and I get a peace of mind coming up north,” he said.
Jake is looking forward to seeing the projects completed and woodworking with Sugi, in order to gain the skills necessary to build his own pole barn and woodshop. Jake has enjoyed being around Jenna, the resident coordinator. “Jenna is a motivator. She’s the glue of our community,” he said.
Memorable moments include any gathering down at hobo village with Johnny Ray. “He’s complimented me countless times and helped me see the attributes that I don’t see in myself,” Jake said.
Jake would like people to know the residents are working hard to build a bridge between civilization and nature. “We like to have fun, but we’re working hard toward the end goal of being one with nature,” he said.
Jake misses his family. Around the workplace, Jake is hard-working, tolerant and respectful. One fun fact about him is that he shares the same birthday as John Wayne. In his free time, Jake likes to sit back with a beer, observe people and get to know them.