The Greenfield Beat: Jesseca Timmons – Get your tickets for Oktoberfest

Jesseca Timmons

Jesseca Timmons COURTESY PHOTO

Published: 09-21-2023 12:55 PM

The Greenfield Oktoberfest is almost here!

The event is Saturday. Sept. 30, from 4 to 8 p.m. on the grounds of the Greenfield Meetinghouse. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for 21 and under, and are available online at greenfieldmeetinghouse.org. Buy before the event and save $5 per ticket.

Oktoberfest will feature 16 different craft beers and wine by Summit Winery, and the cover price includes a full homemade German dinner, two drinks tickets and a commemorative beer glass. All profits will go the Friends of the Greenfield Meetinghouse Building Fund. 

Wetzel comes north

A few weeks ago, I met interpretive ranger Joy Wetzel at her “Science of Storms” program for Antrim Recreation Department. Wetzel said she had spent the summer working at Greenfield and Monadnock state parks, and I was curious how this Georgia native ended up in the Monadnock region for the summer.

After graduating from college, Wetzel learned about the Student Conservation Corps and volunteered to come to New Hampshire to work in the Corps’ “Power of Parks” program, a partnership with New Hampshire State Parks. Driving north in March, Wetzel, who had rarely seen snow in her life, was “giddy” when she encountered the snow still blanketing the ground in New England after the epic March blizzard. Wetzel and her fellow Student Conservation Corps volunteers moved into cabins at the old Spruce Pond Camp, a Civilian Conservation Corps project at Bear Brook State Park, for four months of intensive training.

“That was all a totally new experience,” Wetzel recalled. “I had never used a wood stove, I had never used base layers. I never knew about wool socks!”

Wetzel and fellow volunteers got certified as wilderness first-responders in back country first aid, as interpretive guides, and in New Hampshire State Parks’ “Leave No Trace” program.  During the spring, the SCA rangers also taught  community outreach programs for the Power of Parks program. Wetzel used her first aid training several times at Monadnock, while she was able to practice her interpretive ranger training at Greenfield, leading programs and staffing information tables.

“The two parks are completely different. At Monadnock, we hike up every afternoon, check on hikers, make sure they have water and maps. Greenfield is much more family oriented, a ton of little kids, people enjoying the beach,” Wetzel said.

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Wetzel recalled one little girl at Monadnock who asked her “when the mountain was made.” Wetzel took the opportunity to explain how mountains like Monadnock are formed. On weekends when she worked at Greenfield, Wetzel camped in the park, another new experience.

“It was just amazing,” she says. “The stars are incredible, and the sunsets from the beach at Otter Lake are beautiful because the beach faces west. I got to know the whole staff at the park, I helped out with guest services, whatever needed to be done. It was such a great group.”

Wetzel’s favorite program at Greenfield State Park was “Ponding,” where she took children to the park’s beaver pond with scoop nets and tanks to investigate pond life, including insects and amphibians.

“The Power or Parks program is all about meeting guests where they’re at,” Wetzel explained. “It’s about finding ways to connect with guests. Maybe they don’t want to be lectured at, maybe they don’t feel like sitting through a program. It’s exciting to be able to connect with people who might not have been interested initially, to figure out what their connection to nature is, what interests them.”

The Power of Parks program runs until Oct. 19 at select state parks, including Monadnock and Bear Brook. While Wetzel will be heading home to Georgia, she’s considering other Americorps programs in the future.

“Every young person should have to serve their community and their country,” she says.

To schedule a Power of the Parks outreach program for summer 2024, please send email to outreach.monadnock@thesca.org.