While Hugh Ford grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, it was his frequent trips north to see family that connected him to nature. Until a few years ago, his grandparents lived “off the grid” on a farm in Croyden, New Hampshire, where there were oxen, goats, chickens, dogs, and cats plus corn and other vegetables. No matter what the season, hikes through the woods were a part of every visit. Although his grandparents are no longer at Ledgetop Farm, Hugh’s love for the outdoors and animals can be traced to time spent with them.
A current sophomore at St. Albans School in Washington DC, Hugh sings with the Chorale, writes for the newspaper, is member of the Government club, plays soccer, and runs track. He credits his teachers and participation in the annual middle school science fair competitions as the source of his interest in science. In high school, his Biology and Chemistry teachers have furthered his interest in science. Hugh’s interests, however, are not confined to the lab. He recently returned from a camping and paddling trip to the Four Corners area of the southwestern United States where he saw all sorts of animals and rock formations and slept out under the stars for ten days.
Last summer, Hugh did trail repair and built stone steps for the Appalachian Mountain Club in New Hampshire with the goals of preventing erosion and of keeping hikers away from the plant life. Closer to home, he has helped take down invasive ivy as part of the Rock Creek Park Conservancy English Ivy removal program. He wants to learn more about invasive species and about vegetation in harsh climates. JSEP will allow Hugh to see and learn about plants that survive in one of the most stressful environments and at the same time visit an environment before invasive species arrive.
The Spanish language and culture also interest Hugh. On Saturdays, he tutors first through third grade students at the Latino Student Fund and during the summers he assists the pre-school teachers at the Spanish Educational Development Center. In 2013 he went on a school trip to Guatemala where he worked with Kakchiquel Indian students in the village of El Hato. This summer, along with a classmate, Hugh will travel to Watsonville and Salinas, California to do an independent project on the issues and struggles of migrant farmworkers. One of the topics they plan to investigate is how climate change may impact farmworkers.
During his free time, Hugh loves playing with his dog Toby, watching Will Farrell movies with his brother and sister, and playing the mandolin. Hugh is excited to meet his fellow JSEP participants from the United States, Denmark and Greenland. He is interested in their impressions of the U. S. and opinions on what the country should be doing about climate change. Hugh can’t wait to get to Point 660 on the edge of Greenland’s ice sheet and is concerned about what he may find there.