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Conservation blogger stops in Clayton as he travels across country

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CLAYTON — Light-weight walking boots, a yellow Helly Hanson raincoat and about $8 for the day’s food and travel will help English blogger Winston Ben Wolfrider complete a trek across the United States while he researches environmental conservation efforts and American life.

“I want to see everything that I can,” the 31-year-old said. “The focus for me is wildlife. I wanted to avoid American cities and see rural America.”

He said three goals for his trip are to promote environmental awareness, raise funds for environmental causes and grow personally.

Five weeks into his six-month journey across the country, Mr. Wolfrider stopped in Clayton.

“We don’t get to meet many real Americans where I’m from,” he said.

Over the course of his five-day visit, he toured Wellesely Island and Zenda Farm Preserve, took a boat trip along the St. Lawrence River and visited the Antique Boat Museum.

“You don’t hear about this place back home and, from the people I’ve met, I’ve learned about what a significant part it’s played in American history,” Mr. Wolfrider said. “I plan to write about what I’ve learned from the people at TILT (Thousand Islands Land Trust), Save the River and the Zenda” farm.

Mr. Wolfrider said he started saving $3,035 six months ago for his trip to America. Five weeks ago, he left his home, job and life in the United Kingdom to pursue his personal journey to learn about conservation efforts and American culture. He carries a cellphone and some extra money in case of an emergency.

During his trip he wants to raise money for the World Land Trust, an organization focusing on environmental research, sustainable eco-projects and conservation.

“I wanted to do something that was beneficial for the things I’m passionate about,” Mr. Wolfrider said. “I wanted it to last more than a day or a week.”

His trip began March 27, when he arrived in Boston. Through his blog, Craigslist.com rideshare posts and hitchhiking, and with the help from people he meets along the way, he plans to reach California in six months. He also uses the website wwww.couchsurfing.org to find places to sleep.

“The trip transformed from a walk across the country to a budget challenge,” Mr. Wolfrider said.

Allowing for admissions and camping fees at the National Parks he plans to visit, he only has about $8 a day to spend on food and whatever else he needs.

“I picked a lot of well-known destinations like Niagara Falls, the Finger Lakes, Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon,” he said.

Except for American cartoons and some U.S. friends, Mr. Wolfrider said his experience with Americans was limited before he started his trip.

“It’s not a secret Americans have a bad reputation in most of Europe,” he said. “Clayton is a very community-driven, small society that is extremely aware and driven to preserve the safekeeping of the river.”

This is not Mr. Wolfrider’s first overseas journey.

“I traveled around Australia in 2008,” he said. “I guess I wasn’t done. I have family all over the world but none here. I’m completely on my own.”

Over the course of his trip, he may find the next place he would like to settle down.

“The trip isn’t all about nature, but also to learn how it intertwines with communities and how people who live next to it enjoy and preserve it,” he said.

To follow Mr. Wolfrider’s progress, visit his blog at www.winstonwolfrider.wordpress.com.


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