These last 2 months we have discovered different ways to apply ourselves during conservation days. Yes, our summer doing surveys for SCA is coming to an end, but we still have a few fun exciting weeks left. Suradee and I just, the team of two in New England, has faced many different challenges but have overcome many. We have laughed at how far we have come in this journey and how many great outdoor experiences we’ve had in the ﬁeld. During our surveying days, we’ve encountered many of the same visitors; they even know us by name. Each park has brought a different vibe; even the park rangers we’ve worked with are all different in their own ways.
We’ve had the privilege to have two wonderful celebrations of our birthdays. We had three days off, so we took advantage of that and planned a trip to New York City. It was an amazing trip, with many great memories. The trip was much needed, we felt cooped up in our small town and this mini vacation was exactly what the doctor ordered. We are grateful for the opportunities that SCA has given us. The various conservation projects taught us real hands-on experiences that could be used in our future careers, and surveying has improved our communication and intrapersonal skills.
We really enjoyed all of our conservation days and recently, we went into the ﬁeld at Mansﬁeld Hollow Dam in Connecticut to assist the head ranger, Ed Greenough, cutting down invasive plants around these protected bushes called New Jersey Tea Berry. The head ranger noticed over the years that deer have been grazing on these plant and he wanted to put prevent this from continuing. Our objective was to remove the fence that were currently there, cut and trim any invasive plants around the area, and then to expand the surrounding area around each bundle of New Jersey Tea Berry and place in new fence. This was a two-day project due to how much work was required. After we enjoyed our time there at Mansﬁeld Hollow, we had our next conservation day at West Hill Dam in Massachusetts. Here we experienced something different by staining a wooden bridge with water sealant paint. The bridge extended from one parking lot to the next, which was their beach area. As much as we enjoy being in direct sunlight, we were glad we started early in the morning because it was incredibly hot by noon.
Summer is coming to an end down here in Texas and the surveys have been slowing down at all of our areas. As we continue our work here, we are reminded of the hospitality and the consideration of the employees who work for the Core.
On Wednesday August 1, 2012 we were able to shadow Ranger Brad Ellis at Waco Lake. We were able to get more information about the dam’s history, the parks, the general makeup of the people who uses the parks and the uses of the water that Waco provides to its citizens. We also asked more about their backgrounds, education, and reasons of why they wanted to become Park rangers to get a idea of what a average park ranger is and what do they bring to the army core.
We also got to work with Waco Wetlands which is a co-op between the city of Waco and the core of engineers to restore much of the destroyed land from a previous pool rise. We started early that morning taking out farmed raised aquatic native plants to the lake. They help out erosion and provide habitat to the ﬁsh and will make the lake look more scenic for years to come.
While we are enjoying our last month down here, we are pressed for time to get around to see what else Texas has to offer in terms of entertainment, adventure, excitement, and education