Allow us to introduce ourselves. We are the Georgia Crew, consisting of Briana Brown, Erin Macguire, John “Bud” Denega, Tishena Gillis, Vanessa Armentrout, and Project Leader Clayton Buffer. From the vast reaches of the good old U.S. of A, we congregated just north of Atlanta in Cumming, GA in the middle of May. Our home is the Hillbilly Hilton, and our stomping grounds are the illustrious lakes of the Army Corps of Engineers - Allatoona Lake, Carter’s Lake, and Lake Sidney Lanier. Haven’t heard of them? Look ‘em up. They are some of the prettiest (and busiest) in the nation.
Since arriving in the month of ﬂowers, we have been up to A LOT of stuff, which we’d like to ﬁll you in on now. First, we headed to Camp YI in La Vergne, TN to be trained on the art of Visitor Use Surveying and subsequently consumed a whole lot of brain food while in the company of some of the ﬁnest folks we have ever known, our fellow SCAers. Together we honed our surveying skills, learned the arts of healing in our Wilderness First Aid class, and enjoyed the buggy, warm life of living next to a lake - Lake J. Percy Priest (another ﬁne ACoE lake). Sadly, all trainings have an end, we tearfully headed back to Georgia.
The tears didn’t last for long, although we still miss our friends in Kansas, New England, Waco, Nashville, Mississippi and Oklahoma. After arriving back at the beloved Hilton, it was time to get to work, and get to work we did - DOING SURVEYS! After acquainting ourselves with our lakeside, parking lot oﬃces, we set out to collect the data that the Army Corps needs - the visitor use data. Stopping all forms of vehicles from Priuses to lift-kit-equipped Dodge Ram 3500s with cigarette boats in tow, we have been surveying, in weather fearsome and fair, since the very ﬁrst day of June. It is a joy and a privelege to get to speak pretty much daily with the people visting our lakes. You get the occasional rude so-and-so, but for the most part, our lake-goers are real friendly, and willing to talk. We like ‘em, and you should too.
Attention must be called to our dear pal, Bud. Sensing that his help was needed in the faraway land of Nashville, TN, Bud volunteered (appropriate to his destination) to help out our friends up North. He was gone for 3 whole weeks, and we missed him dearly, but he’s back now, transformed into a veritable survey machine. Thanks, Bud. You rock.
When we’re not surveying, we’re conserving like champions. Once a week we get a day dedicated solely to conservation, and we’ve devised a number of awesome projects. As a whole unit we are working to turn our backyard (3 acres of lovely, lush Georgia woods) into an Audubon Society certiﬁed wildlife sanctuary, complete with birdhouses, birdfeeders (Vanessa’s specialty), hiking trails (Erin’s newfound talent), and more. Briana and Tishena have been lending their green thumbs to our home garden, to give us fresh fruits, veggies, herbs, and ﬂowers. The team has cleaned up miles of beach in Savannah to the south, and brought back the reusable trash to make into awesome stuff in the back yard. Bud’s got a new frisbee golf course in the works. Erin’s helping out at the Humane Society and America’s southernmost trout hatchery. Vanessa’s working in Atlanta’s Botanical Gardens (a most beautiful place to be sure). Our work is as diverse as our interests, and we’re happy to get to lend a hand.
In our off time, we’ve chased waterfalls, hiked trails, visited the big city down south, road the rails, seen the sites…and a bunch of other stuff, but we don’t want to make you too jealous.
Keep in touch! To our friends and family, we miss you all. We’ll be back next hitch with more, so stay tuned.