Nashville is so chill

After seeing off our friends heading to Cumming, GA and Waco, TX for the spring season, we (the Nashville crew) took a day to get our minds clear and our house organized. Although we loved being host to our amazing friends from the Georgia and Texas crews and we were sad to see them go, it was time prepare for the busy work week looming ahead. We spent our first day organizing ourselves in our East Nashville home, making sure that our minds were clear and we were ready to hit the ground running. The next day, with the coffee pot a-bubblin’ and our game faces on, we started researching and planning out our service projects that we had brainstormed to complete or spring work plan. Much of the day we spent making contacts with local organizations and gathering information to mold our ideas into something more concrete. It also gave us time to laugh and get to know each other a lot more. It didn’t take long for any of us to feel like we were all at home. Toward the end of the day we were able to pick up our long awaited rental cars that we would be driving for the spring season. Oh was it great to be driving those back to our cozy home. After a fun filled day of planning, we took the next day to drive to all of our Visitor Use locations. It was a great day and great weather to explore the beautiful lakes and woodlands that creep in and around the Nashville area. Though spring hadn’t officially taken hold, we saw many birds out on the reservoirs and marshy areas, and some wildlife on the roads. All of us were excited to get out in the field and start working. After a few days of good work we took the weekend to enjoy ourselves, visiting our friends from the Georgia crew, and spending a little time in Tennessee. We regrouped on Sunday and did some final prep and checking for our first day of surveying on Monday. We made sure that we had all the directions to make it to our survey sites, fueled the vehicles up, and checked to make sure that all of our survey equipment and gear were ready to go for the survey season! Soon enough Monday morning rolled through and Sophie and Mike were off on their first day of Visitor Use Surveys for the season, and Eva was ready for her first on Wednesday. After enjoying some beautiful 70 degree weather during training a week earlier, a cold front moved in and brought a few days of snow flurries and a 30-40 degree chill! What a change it was, but Sophie, Eva and Mike were all up for the challenge. We all got to interact with all sorts of interesting folk, from overzealous environmentalists to long-time locals, and crazed fisherman to ACE rangers. We all learned a lot about the local culture this week. Even though we worked our tails off this week, we still found some time to enjoy ourselves. Sophie and Mike had another southern experience going to a show at the Grand Ole Opry. There we saw performances by legends Ricky Skaggs, Bill Anderson and Jean Shepard, lady’s man Craig Morgan, and two great younger bands Old Crow Medicine Show and the Black Lillies. We closed out our week with some busy survey days on the weekend and are looking to continue the momentum through the spring season! Happy Easter everyone! Written by Mike