I moved to Traverse City a year ago after falling in love with the area when my son Pete, and daughter in law, Anna became TCAPS employees seven years ago. I had taught college prep and advanced placement physics at Rochester Adams High School for 25 years. During my tenure as a teacher I held a Physics Olympics Competition. Each year we had a theme. My favorite was “Use the Force”. Our first was superheroes, you can see my costume as the Super Nerdmeister. My husband Paul, and I raised 2 boys in southwest Michigan. Paul is a software product designer for Autodesk and works remotely from Traverse City. My son Nick, is a landscape architect based in Flagstaff Arizona. To make the move I retired from teaching, moved my parents to their own home in Traverse City and began a new life of care taking for my parents. Once things were settled I began volunteering at the TART office and have been grateful to meet caring and committed staff and volunteers in the TART community. One of my responsibilities at the TART has been to create this communication and track trail ambassador contributions.
Jim PecottMy story with TART is one of progression. I used to be part of a 15 passenger vanpool at the University of Michigan. There were no comparable programs available here in Traverse City. So after moving here the end of 2000, one of the first things I did was buy a bicycle to commute to work and follow the lead of my grandfather.I began using the Leelanau Trail as part of my daily commute to Munson Medical Center. Noting the TART signage, financial support with gas money saved was the next logical step. Believing that one should always contribute back to the organizations or communities one belongs to, I saw that opportunity as a TART Roaming Ambassador.The events that I like to get involved with are Smart Commute Week, Tour de TART, and Recycle-a-Bicycle.The reason being that anyone can participate. From the cycling perspective you can participate with an average single speed bicycle, and no special clothing or equipment is necessary. These programs encourage people into a more active and healthy lifestyle as does the very presence of the trail system whether you walk, run, or ride.Smart commuting also dovetails into Munson’s Wellness program. I will burn 300+ calories per day in commuting and the number increases when the bike is used for other basic transportation needs. Combining exercise into my daily commute has helped me loose and keep off 35 pounds.
Additionally, I regard staff at TART as professional, personable, and engaging which makes volunteering an enjoyable experience.
Tom has been a TART Trail ambassador the last two years. He’s been trained by reading the Ambassador Manual and working with other ambassadors at work bees and receiving assistance on problems at Buffalo Ridge Trail.
He and his wife Karen have used the TART trail since it first opened. They have always enjoyed it, and are real excited about the paving of the Leelanau Trail all the way to Suttons Bay and the opening of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail from Empire to Glen Arbor. This enjoyment is what lead Karen and Tom to sign up as trail ambassadors. They realize what the trail system gives to the area, both for local use and drawing visitors to the area. They currently look after the Buffalo Ridge Trail and Tom helped at the spring clean up on the Boardman Lake Trail. They are year round residents so they get to enjoy TART in all four seasons. There are two things that have been very enjoyable to Tom. First, meeting the staff at TART and seeing their commitment to the trail system and our community. Second, having numerous trail users say THANK YOU for keeping the trail system in great shape. Those two reasons should make everyone who uses the trails want to be an ambassador.
Melinda and her family moved to Traverse City in 1994. She first learned about the TART Ambassador program through SheSkis. Her leader encouraged those out on the trails anyway to consider becoming Ambassadors. Melinda knew others involved and appreciates the TART Trails mission. She attended training in November 2010 and has been a Roaming Ambassador ever since. In the winter she skis and races on the VASA. When the snow is gone she commutes to work at NMC on the “Cross Town” bike route and enjoys running and biking on the trails. As an ambassador she greets other trail users and stops to offer directions. She reports and problems on the trail and bakes cookies for the VASA Trail open houses. She also helps clear the trail of debris and participates in Smart Commute Week. She is also a volunteer for the Zombie Run, Dune Dash and Vasa Trail Run.Melinda is a true lover of trails and wants to see them continue to be well used and maintained. She wants the trails to be there for children to explore nature with their family and friends, and for all of us to re-energize.