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WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Keefer follows passion for nature, pursues Wildlife & Conservation Biology major

Elitsa Koleva
Senior Meg Keefer stands outside for a picture near WA.

Senior Meg Keefer finds herself hiking up a mountain during the winter, the cold air brushing against her face and the snow crunching underneath her boots as she makes her way up the steep slope. Though Keefer’s legs are tired from the effort, the sweet moments of support from her friends continue to drive her forward. Finally, she reaches the top, and a stillness sets in as she soaks in the gorgeous mountain range, floating above the clouds.

For Keefer, this experience of hiking to the peak of Mt. Washington last January has cemented itself as one of the most memorable hikes of her life with the WA Outing Club. After participating in both the Outing and Cirrus Clubs since her sophomore year, Keefer hopes to continue her passion for the outdoors by pursuing a Wildlife and Conservation Biology major at the University of New Hampshire.

Keefer poses at the top of Mt. Washington during a hike with the Outing Club. (Lynn Jones)

Though joining the Cirrus and Outing Club was never something she considered before her sophomore year, Keefer decided to go to Cirrus’s first meeting after one of her friends saw a morning announcement advertising the club. As she became more seriously involved in both clubs and meeting new people in the process, Keefer appreciated her decision to explore this new hobby.

“I loved Mr. [Richard] McHugh who was the adviser at the time, and then I started going to the events more. I met new people, and I had a friend group form from that and I just loved being there,” Keefer said. 

While both Cirrus and Outing Club seek to provide meaningful outdoor activities and experiences for their members, Cirrus focuses more on camping, backpacking, skating, and other activities which are done locally, while Outing Club is involved in hiking the intense 4,000 footer mountains across New England.

Although Keefer was unfamiliar with these outdoor activities when she first joined, she later became an active hiker in Outing Club, as well as a student instructor for Cirrus members. According to Cirrus and Outing Club adviser and educational support professional Lynn Jones, Keefer has always been an enthusiastic club member, whether it be in advertising the club activities or simply being there for new members.

The Outing Club poses during a hike on Mt. Monadnock. (Provided by Lynn Jones)

“[Keefer] gets along with everybody. She’s like the kindest soul [and] she’s such a great kid,” Jones said. “Cirrus is one of those clubs where it’s not for everybody. You have to like to be outside and it’s not [like] WATA which has a lot of people in it and it’s not a sports team […] but Meg’s always been so welcoming and so kind and she’d talk to anybody and just get them excited.”

Keefer’s interest in nature and the outdoors has always been something that she has wanted to explore further, though it never truly materialized into something she wanted to pursue until later on in her high school career. As a child, Keefer recalls wanting to be a marine biologist, and although she soon realized that was not the path for her, she continued exploring her different interests when she took an environmental science course in her junior year of high school. 

“I just thought it was really interesting to learn about the environment and the different ecosystems and animals that live in it. I just thought that was quite interesting compared to all my other classes and it was also nice because I had a really nice teacher, [Sara Blomgren],” Keefer said.

In addition to the environmental science class she took, Keefer credits her junior job shadow with a wildlife biologist for pushing her to study Wildlife and Conservation Biology in college. At her job shadow site, Keefer enjoyed being in nature and the hands-on experience that she received, in addition to accompanying her job shadow mentor as she checked the development of bird nests, identified different bird species, and did trail maintenance. 

In fact, it was this hands-on approach to learning about the natural world that led Keefer to choose Wildlife and Conservation Biology as her major, as opposed to other fields she considered.

“[The field is] very much outside. That’s what I gathered from all of the tours I’ve gone to for [the University of New Hampshire],” Keefer said. “It’s the major where [I will] be outside the most and be able to interact with the wildlife. I also was considering doing zoology but that one is more in the classroom studying.”

For Keefer, being in nature has always been an outlet through which she can relax and feel at peace. During her hikes for the Outing Club, her favorite moments were those where she remained still as she took in her surroundings.

“It’s just peaceful. […] When I’m hiking, there’s usually a certain spot where I’m just standing there and just taking up all [the surroundings] and then [I] get complete silence,” Keefer said. “I encourage going out [in nature], especially if you need to think.”

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About the Contributor
Elitsa Koleva
Elitsa Koleva, Managing Editor
Hello! My name is Elitsa and I am a junior. I enjoy reading and watching the news, plus I like to write, which are some of the reasons behind me taking Journalism. I like to swim, paint and read! 

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