Type of Service
National Park Service
Site Leader Description #1
Sarah is a 3rd year from Winchester, VA studying Systems Engineering and Computer Science. Last year she led a trip to Portland, OR and absolutely loved it, but is excited to get back to those camping roots. At UVA she is super passionate about working with Camp Kesem, serving as a student advisor for Honor, and being the webmaster for ASB (woohoo!). In her free time you might find her napping on mad bowl, grabbing brazos with friends, or jamming to some Kacey Musgraves. She cannot wait to explore Zion for the first time and help out the National Park Service!!
Site Leader Description #2
Zoe is a 3rd year from Oxford, Connecticut studying Political Philosophy, Policy, & Law and History. She was a participant on the Death Valley ASB trip last year and is PUMPED to lead this year with her Honor gal pal, Sarah. You can also find her serving as Senior Counselor of the UJC, President of the Hellenic Society, is on TYC, and volunteers with Pancakes for Parkinson’s and at the Albemarle County Regional Jail. She is quite obsessed with (addicted to) coffee, is a horror movie aficionado, thoroughly enjoys hot yoga, likes to #spreadkindness, and loves to cheer on UVA football & basketball. She is excited to continue on her quest of visiting every state in the U.S. (number 21 here she comes!) and to experience the outdoors with new friends in Zion.
We will leave Charlottesville on Friday evening and head over to Sarah's house in Northern Virginia to spend the night. Early Saturday morning, we’ll fly out of D.C. and arrive at Las Vegas where we’ll pick up our rental van, do some exploring, and then drive up to Zion National Park where we will set up our campsite - your new home away from home. On Sunday we’ll do some exploring around the park and Monday is the first day of our service work. Wednesday will most likely be our free day and we can go on a day trip to either world famous Hurricane, UT or Bryce Canyon National Park depending on everybody’s interests. We want to make the most out of our visit to Zion, so we plan on doing some adventuring every afternoon after our volunteer work depending on what everyone’s up for. Our returning flight to D.C. will depart from Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon and we’ll be getting back to Northern Virginia Saturday evening. You’re welcome to spend the night at our house, somewhere else in the nearby area, or head back to Charlottesville once we get back to D.C. Everyone will be back at UVA by Sunday.
The most important requirement is a positive, flexible attitude. Make sure to send any last minute texts to your friends before we arrive because we’ll be spending the week without service or, for the most part, technology. We will spend the whole week camping and working outdoors, and will be sleeping in tents and preparing all our meals over a campfire, which studies suggest is the quickest way to bond as a group. Since we’ll be in the desert, we will experience fairly warm days (low 60s °F) and cold nights (mid 20s °F)...that calls for lots of excuses to make smores.
We expect to be working in coordination with environmental scientists and park rangers to provide sustainability services, as well as potentially performing trail maintenance and other much needed environmental conservation efforts. So get ready to do some intense vegetation removal against the backdrop of the Zion scenery. We might also get the chance to work at the park’s solar farm and visit the Zion Human History Center.
Before we delve into the beautiful natural scenery of Zion, we’ll get to explore the bright lights of Vegas… in the daytime. Rather than put our trip budget into the slots though, we’re thinking of driving through the Vegas strip and seeing plenty of famous landmarks. In the park itself, we’ll go hiking on some of the most scenic trails the US can offer, including Angel’s Landing of course. We’ll watch the sun set and the stars shine through the desert sky, and at night we might even go on a ghost tour. It wouldn’t be a camping trip without some good ‘ol fashioned campfire bonding too. (Bring your cards and riddles, we’ll use them all!) We’ll have Sunday and an additional day off (likely Wednesday) to explore nearby Bryce Canyon National Park, survive a visit to Hurricane, UT, maybe even go on a whitewater rafting expedition, and everyone’s favorite -- indulge in some ice cream. After we finish our service each day, we’ll have the chance to adventure around more of the park or just chill at the campsite and take a break. During the entire trip we’ll leave the options wide open, we want to be flexible and get group input on everything we choose to do. You’ll shape this trip with us!
Zion National Park hosted over 4.5 million guests in the 229 square mile park in 2017, making it the 3rd most visited National Park. These visitors bring a large amount of conservation and preservation issues to the park’s staff, whether leaving trash in campsites, wearing down trails, bringing non native species into the park, or threatening the natural ecosystems and archaeological sites present. People have been living in Zion for approximately 10,000 years such as the Puebloan and Fremont cultures to Mormon pioneers. Zion is a part of the Grand Staircase, which is a grouping of rock units that are over 150 million years old. The park holds a variety of animal life as well, with over 400 different species of animals including the spotted owl, the condor, bighorn sheep, and desert tortoises.