FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | January 12, 2015
Ithaca College student planning 53-mile walk from home to school
Rather than driving to school, 19-year-old Ithaca College sophomore Faith Meckley has decided to take 5 days to walk the 53 miles that stand between her home in Geneva and Ithaca College.
Her walk will begin January 14 and ends January 18 when she arrives on campus and moves into her dorm in the Sustainably Conscious Living and Learning Community. Meckley plans to walk at a pace of about 10 miles a day, and will camp outside in her tent each night. She will carry everything she needs on her back. Her route can be viewed here, with approximations of where her campsites will be along the way.
Meckley says the primary purpose of this endeavor is to deepen her relationship with the Finger Lakes Region, her lifelong home, as she walks along the shores of both Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. She hopes to inspire others to appreciate and care for their own home regions. In recent months, Meckley has played a leadership role in the We Are Seneca Lake civil disobedience movement, attempting to stop Texas-based Crestwood Midstream from storing methane and liquefied petroleum gas in unstable salt caverns under the western shore of Seneca Lake.
Meckley is returning to college after taking the Fall 2014 semester off to participate in the Great March for Climate Action. The Climate March traversed the country from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. between March and November of last year to demand action on climate change from both world leaders and everyday citizens. Meckley participated for almost two thirds of the March from May to October, walking from Taos, New Mexico to Youngstown, Ohio.
“Before the Climate March I would have thought that walking from Geneva to Ithaca was crazy, but now it’s totally within the realm of possibility,” Meckley said.
The Climate March averaged about 15 miles a day across many terrains, including the Mojave Desert in California, the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado, and the Great Plains. The March also faced extreme weather conditions, including torrential rains, hail, one blizzard, and a few tornado warnings. Meckley said the March challenged her physically and spiritually and boosted her confidence in her physical ability.
“I had never been more impressed with the human body than I was while walking on the March,” Meckley said. “There was one Marcher, Miriam Kashia, who was 71 and she walked every step of the 3,000 miles. And another, Jimmy Betts, walked about 40 miles in a 25-hour period to catch up with March. With practice, you can get your body into a rhythm and it feels like you can do anything.”
Meckley says her time on the March inspired her to attempt walking to school. Her walk to Ithaca College will be different from the Climate March in that she will be doing it on her own and in the cold of an Upstate New York January.
Meckley is a journalism major at Ithaca College’s Roy H. Park School of Communications. She also is pursuing a minor in creative writing and recently switched her second minor from international politics to outdoor pursuits – also inspired by the Climate March. Her Integrative Core Curriculum theme is Quest for a Sustainable Future.