Back in 2005 the Hadley Fire Tower Committee joined in a partnership with a Potsdam University's Environmental Studies
program developed by then Professor Michael Wilson. Michael has since retired and Professor Bill Brown has filled his shoes.
This program matches up students who are planning to go out into the environmental field of employment with an internship
within their field of interest. Before hitting the trail, these individuals go through an intensive training by DEC to
familiarize them with their surroundings, duties and to help hone related skills necessary to fulfill the steward position.
In our case, we have been fortunate enough to hire a number of prospective rangers/foresters to apply their studies to real
life employment. In return, candidates have completed projects to complement our goals, such
as educational displays in the cabin, panoramic interpretive panels, etc.
This year we are excited to have recent Potsdam graduate, Andre Turcotte, who will acting steward from June 1st till September 4th.
I am fortunate enough to have grown up spending a considerable amount of time outside. Being the youngest of four children I was always following around my older siblings. I have fond memories of adventuring with my siblings to Clendon Brook behind our house in Queensbury where we could see anything from butterflies to beavers. The incredible cohesiveness of the forest fascinated me. I will never forget the day that we were learning about monarch butterflies in grade school and that afternoon when I got home I was exploring outside like I normally would and I came across a monarch caterpillar. This is when I realized that we as humans aren’t separated from nature, but instead we’re a piece of the natural puzzle with life all around us.
I often went camping with my parents, Martin and Cindy Turcotte, in the heart of the Adirondacks. Later my parents bought land on Lake Harris in Newcomb, New York, where we built a home. Lake Harris feeds into the mighty Hudson River. This community is surrounded by the high peaks of the Adirondacks, including Mount Marcy, the state’s highest peak. Having spent a significant amount of my life in Newcomb it is truly awe inspiring to take in first hand nature’s seasonal progression and beauty in the Adirondacks. I participated in Newcomb’s youth program where I learned to swim, gained a passion for the tranquility of kayaking, and summited Mount Marcy. In my free time I didn’t have a television to be plopped in front of, I had an imagination and the great outdoors. This time offered me an opportunity to relate daily to nature and the local community. With all my experiences in and around the Adirondacks I have come to be passionate about nature and all that is available to us.
In the spring of 2015 I completed my Associate’s Degree at SUNY Adirondack. Upon graduation my sights were set for the West, in particular Yellowstone National Park. I have always been captivated by the unbelievable mega fauna of Yellowstone, so I set out to experience it. I accepted a position working at the Roosevelt Lodge inside the park. My farther and I drove across country, stopping along the way to soak in the iconic landscapes of our westward journey. We arrived in Gardiner, Montana a few days before my work start date. I drove my dad to the airport, where I said goodbye to the only person I knew for thousands of miles. Nervous and excited, this was the start of an experience that would change my life forever. My first morning in Yellowstone I woke to two bull bison outside my cabin and I knew this was where I was meant to be. The magnitude of the majestic thunder beasts was electrifying it sparked something innate in me, something waiting to be set free.
After my time in Yellowstone I returned home to the Adirondacks. Uncertain about my next step and with bills to pay I worked as skilled laborer for a construction company. This was the motivation I needed to return to school and pursue what I wanted do. In January 2016 I transferred to SUNY Potsdam to pursue a degree in Environmental Studies. Sparked by my passion in life my goal is to be a part of protecting the environment. SUNY Potsdam ignited these feelings I had felt innately and felt so greatly. At Potsdam I met someone who would take my hand as we walked across the land. Invigorated by the Westward experience we looked for opportunities to work in the west. We accepted a position working at the Big Trees Lodge in Yosemite National Park. The uniqueness of Yosemite Valley is world renowned. After driving across the country, laying our eyes on Yosemite Valley, knowing we would be living with this as our backyard was exhilarating. This time instead of dropping off the only person I
knew for thousands at the airport I had a partner to be by my side and enjoy the ride. In our free time we explored the magnificent features of Yosemite: swimming in the pools of waterfalls, hiking mountains, or laying in the river behind our house. It was the best summer of our lives.
I have always wanted to be a part of helping to protect the Adirondack Park. Being a Fire Tower Steward is an exciting step towards pursuing a career in natural resource management and I couldn’t be more thrilled about the opportunity. I am honored to be Hadley Mountain’s Fire Tower Steward.