Welcome to a new series where we get to know our beloved member event leaders a little better. These dedicated park champions lead our guided hikes, trail runs, meditations, forest therapy walks, yoga classes, and more year-round. First up: Meet Kevin Roche, who is on the Fairmount Park Conservancy staff and leads all of our Trolley Trail hikes and guided trail runs.
What are your favorite parts of Philly’s parks?
The Trolley Trail still feels magical to me. You’re in the city but you can reach these little pockets of forest that feel really peaceful and middle-of-nowhere. You can get lost but not too lost. The trolley remnants add an element of discovery.
Right now I’m really appreciating the Boxers’ Trail. It’s short and sweet, quiet, and close to home. You can watch from a unique vantage point and see the people using Schuylkill River Trail.
And I always like Clark Park on a spring Saturday.
What has been one of the unexpected things about leading member events for Fairmount Park Conservancy over the years?
My own sustained enthusiasm for it going into a third year. I work in the development department at the Conservancy, so leading guided hikes and runs falls into the “other duties as assigned” category. I was initially a substitute for other event leaders, so I’ve been committed to learning as much as I can and refining the narratives and routes so we can provide unique experiences for people.
What has been the best thing about leading member events for the Conservancy over the years?
Every event brings different people with different experiences and understandings of the park system. It’s fun to see people meet for the first time and then go on a journey or tackle a challenge together. I’m also always happy that people are so gracious and patient with the state of some of the park infrastructure, the less speedy hikers and runners, and the time or two I’ve taken a wrong turn. We’re in it together.
Many folks have probably enjoyed your guided experiences several times, what are some fun facts about you they might not know??
I joined my first band at 13 and have been playing music ever since – touring in a band in my 20s brought me to most of the States, some of Canada, and all over Europe, Australia, and Asia.
I really like soccer. And I’ve been vegan for almost 20 years.
What are you doing during this challenging time for self care? This can include books you are reading, movies/shows you are watching, music you are listening to, recipes, etc.
First, checking in with friends and family as much as possible. I feel very lucky to be healthy and working from home, so looking for ways to help and stay connected.
I set a goal this year of working my way through an entire cookbook (Isa Does It) to improve my kitchen comfort and versatility, so the stay at home rules mean I’ve had a lot of time to ramp up my cooking and baking.
As for books, I just finished the very good Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo for the Conservancy-Parks & Recreation Club (yes, we have a book club!). I’m currently reading Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, which won the Booker Prize last year. So far, so good.
Exercise and TV are helping, too.
Watch Kevin lead NBC10 on a trail run along the Trolley Trail, Boxers’ Trail, and Belmont Plateau!