Opportunities to work alongside and learn from renowned experts at the Mount Washington Observatory (MWOBS) are limited. So when Guineafowl Adventure Company owner, Dave Fatula, learned the Observatory was accepting applications for volunteer docents, he jumped at the chance.
After competing in a highly competitive application process, Dave was chosen to spend a week at the Mount Washington Observatory volunteering as a museum docent in the Extreme Mount Washington Museum and lending a hand to the weather observatory staff in their daily routine of cooking, cleaning, and hosting private events for state representatives, local businesses, and stakeholders.
Docent volunteers act as ambassadors for MWOBS' work, history, and mission by engaging with guests and assisting Museum Attendants in a busy atmosphere. Volunteers serve for one week at a time from May through October. In addition, volunteers have the opportunity to live with the summit crew for the week, supporting the weather station's operations by providing nightly meals for the crew and conducting light clean-up duties in the living quarters.
Dave describes his experience as a MWOBS Docent Volunteer:
The experience was incredibly rewarding for several reasons. First and foremost, I got to make new connections with the incredible folks at the MWOBS. Whatsmore, I met people from the New Hampshire State Parks, the Mt. Washington Auto Road, and the Cog Railway–all of the organizations which share the great Mt. Washington State Park. Meeting and working with all these people and understanding their roles in keeping Mt. Washington the amazing attraction it is was gratifying and quite a learning experience.
Second, I learned more about the weather patterns impacting Mount Washington, the whole White Mountain region, and even the entire Northeast! For example, did you know that the Northeast has the most low-pressure systems in the country? And that these pressure systems, combined with the destabilizing effects of mountainous regions, create such crazy weather above treeline in the White Mountains? Also, and most importantly, if you don’t already know this–the weather above the treeline can be vastly different from the weather at your local town center. So, if you’re hiking in the white mountains, in addition to any other forecasting services you like to use, always (ALWAYS) check the higher summits forecast before heading out.
Finally, when I wasn’t working in the museum, cooking, cleaning, or learning from the incredible weather observers about how to forecast mountain conditions, I got to trail run and hike the amazing Presidential Range, Tuckerman Ravine, and Alpine Garden! Those of you who’ve made it up to the Presidentials know that having the opportunity to start your day already at the TOP makes a huge difference! Being on these trails and doing what I love was the basis for starting Guineafowl Adventure Company. Being able to connect with others, learn more about our ecosystem, and hike and trail run to my heart's content is just about the perfect possible week for me!
I’m looking forward to taking advantage of more volunteer opportunities for myself and the entire Guineafowl Adventure Company team to help out MWOBS and other organizations that help keep the White Mountain National Forest and surrounding communities the incredible places that they are!
Click through the photos below to see some snapshots of Dave's week as a Volunteer Docent at MWOBS:
If you’re considering a hiking adventure in the White Mountains, but would rather leave the packing and planning to trail-savvy professionals, Guineafowl can help. Guineafowl Adventure offers curated, full-service, end-to-end guided group hiking and outdoor experiences, so you can relax and enjoy your time communing with nature in the White Mountains. Visit our website to see a listing of scheduled hikes, or contact us to book a corporate or private hike for your small group.