The Diversity of Leaves

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Diversity of Leaves

Nature is great!

Jess subscribes to a science website that sends out little videos and says it a little differently (more fervently and less appropriately) but let me say it again; Nature is great!

The reason nature is great this time is that it has reminded me of the central importance and inherent goodness of a core aspect of what we strive for at Camp Hawkeye; diversity.

Diversity is good!

It’s the leaves of course; the changing palette of color and texture that fall in New Hampshire provides.  It’s the variety of colors; it’s the range of trees that provide it that make the northeast so special.

Other places in the country have deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves each year) and many of those trees reach a vibrant peak of color before the leaves drop.  But they can’t compare with New England.  This is where people come to just look, get near them, and be among the riotous range of color. 

If you’ve ever been out west for example there are some beautiful fall views as leaves change as well.  One place that my family and I have spent much time is Santa Fe, New Mexico.  We’ve driven cross-country and spent the autumn in the southwest the last two years.  An enchanting place surrounded by beautiful mountains.  From the porch of our house there in the foothills above Santa Fe you can see five mountain ranges; the Ortiz, Manzano, and Sandia Mountains to the South, the Jemez Mountains to the West, and, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains  (which are the southernmost edge of the Rockies) to the North.  Fall comes to Santa Fe too and leaves change.  The Juniper bushes, Pinon and Ponderosa Pine stay green while the Cottonwoods by the Rio Grande and the Aspen up on the mountains turn brilliant yellows.

But it’s not the same.

The color is vibrant and beautiful and can be striking and memorable but it is a color, singular, at peak.  Whereas here in New Hampshire the forests provide a panoply of colors from a diverse forest ecosystem.

It’s just better here.  It is!  Though I admit that I am biased because of my love for what New Hampshire has to offer, the more than 7.5 million people who visit each year to see the foliage agree.

New Hampshire has at least 86 native species of tree according to UNH Cooperative Extension List of New Hampshire Native Trees revised in 2014.  This is where the beauty for me resides; in the tremendous range of colors, in the joy of discovering an as of yet unnoticed hue out my window or on my morning commute.  The big splashes of yellow, the big swatches of red, and the delicious expanses of pumpkin orange draw me in but nothing compares to the rainbow of colors.  From the healthy green of yet unchanged leaves, to the deepest purple, and along to the earthiest browns as the paths and trails become carpeted.

Like so many other parts of nature, investing, and human endeavor it’s the diversity of it that brings a new level.

Diversity is good!

There is an inherent value in diversity that nature demonstrates over and again.  I believe I don’t have to bang the drum of biodiversity and that we can all accept this as a fact.  But how about other places?

Your portfolio for example?  Is it better when it is diversified?  Most would say so; safer, more likely to offer a consistent return over time, better insulated from market volatility.  These are good things.

Your diet?  Humans can eat a tremendous range of food…this has allowed the species to spread across and live on every continent of the world.  Even more than that humans need a diverse diet.  We get nutrients and minerals, energy, and the building blocks for growth from diverse sources.  Think about what happens when one doesn’t get enough vitamin C…you develop scurvy.  Scurvy leads to exhaustion, anemia, and loss of teeth.   That’s bad.  

What about an athlete?  Cross-training?  How about in baseball; the 5 tool player?  The best player in the game right now is Mike Trout and he can do it all.  He has a range of skills; a diverse number of ways he can impact a game and help his team win.  He is good.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston?  The MFA displays contemporary art, photography, prints & drawings, musical instruments, textiles & fashion, jewelry, collections of art from five continents and so much more.  The MFA values neither just one type nor one medium.  It seems this all makes for a better museum experience and that…is…good.

Diversity is good!

We should strive for what is good; we can all agree on that.

Camp is simply another part of our lives and more specifically the lives of our children that is enriched by diversity.  For many of us, unfortunately, we do not encounter enough diversity.  Though some of us strive to do so and that is great!  Some of us are intentional about the friendships we make, the clubs/teams/religious organizations that we join, and even where we choose to live but most of us don’t. 

If you do and this describes your family already then come and join us at Hawkeye!  We’ll fit in well with what you already know you want/need for your family and your child.

For the rest of us who have kids that attend camp we often don’t.  So this is why it is so important to find a safe place where our kids can experience enhanced diversity from which to grow, learn, and have fun.

As the founder and director of Camp Hawkeye I am focused on creating, building, and growing the diversity of our community.  The diversity of our camper group, my staff team, and our camp families.

We strive to bring to Hawkeye more types of diversity than I can list but they include:


However as a board member for NH Camps and a trainer/educator with New Camp Directors Workshop for the American Camp Association New England chapter I am also concerned with diversity throughout the camping world.  I encourage my peers and friends, competitors and acquaintances in camping to do what we do:

Camp Hawkeye Actively Recruits Diversity

This means we identify an aspect of diversity that we believe is either underrepresented at Hawkeye or want to add/enhance in our community and then seek it out.  On the staff side it means I put a value on background and experiences that might inform our youth development work at camp.  These experiences may be outside the narrow template of what a camp counselor once was.  On the camper side it means reaching out to parents, teachers, and organizations in regions or among groups that we want to recruit into our community.  In both cases diversity matters to us and we put our money where our mouth is.

So remember try to increase the diversity in your life; listen to different viewpoints, meet different people, and eat different foods.  Otherwise you might develop scurvy, and nobody wants that. 


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