Friday, May 22, 2015

Ode to the off-season

 "You can not do a kindness too soon for you never know when it will be too late"
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

So like the majority of people who work for the Forest Service, my job is seasonal. This has to do with the federal budget not allocating enough money to pay people for the entire year but is also due to the fact that many of the places I patrol are under snow for the other half the year and rather inaccessible and visitation is very low compared to summer time. So here's an ode to ranger related work I did this off-season.

I helped out my friend Hummingbird who helps manage the Girl Scouts Nor-Cal camp properties. We did trail work at Camp Bothin which I actually attended as a camper back in the mid-90s! We had new trail construction, mitigating a trail washout/erosion and also some stair projects. I learned a lot. I had never made trail steps with wood before, only with rock so that was different. We had fun!
scratching in the new trail construction

before and after of one of our stair projects

Hummingbird at the bottom of one of our stair projects

My good friend Robin is working on her master's thesis and her field experiment has to do with testing a method of controlling an invasive plant called Sesbania without herbicide. I went with her a few times to help out, her test sites are along the San Joaquin river. We counted and measured the plants on the test plots where they were growing back. We also collected and counted seeds in the soil around the plants.
Robin carrying the soil sieve she made for us to sift seeds

one of the sesbania plants
this is after we dug out the area around it to sift for seeds

I also had some contract work for GirlVentures which is an awesome organization that leads outdoor adventure/education trips for middle school girls. I got to help girls learn to rock climb and lead them in team-building, confidence building and outdoor ethics activities. In addition to those things I also spent some time helping friends with their own projects...hanging dry wall for a friend's home improvement project and weeding and cleaning another friend's home. I like to be productive and since I'm not always great at socializing it helps me with anxiety. Of course there was plenty of time spent climbing, hiking and backpacking too!