An Update from the Field

8/4 – 8/17

We’re approaching the home stretch of the 2013 ACE VUS Survey Season!  Surveys have been keeping us busy as well as activities in Nashville. By now, each member has been to each survey site, and boy do we have some beautiful places.  The fall semester of school has started in the Nashville area, which means that visitation to our parks has slowed down greatly.  This gives us a little bit more of a chance to soak in the beauty of middle Tennessee.  The influx of rain over the past few weeks has left the temperature lower than normal Tennessee summer, but none of us are complaining about that. Even the humidity has dropped a bit, making being outside a bit more refreshing for those who aren’t used to the warm, humid climate of the south.

Darrel took over hitch leading and did a great job checking in with each team daily. We’ve all learned quite a lot about native Alaskan culture.  Of course Darrel made his signature dish: Agudak – frozen berries, sugar, and Crisco. It’s certainly a yummy treat after spending all day in the sun.  Our first week on hitch was much more relaxed than it has been any other week. We worked two conservation days during the second week of the last hitch, so everyone had the day of for our first conservation day of the week this week. It was something that everyone was looking forward too after the fast pace of the previous week. Some of us too, the day to go cliff jumping at the local Army Corps Lake, while others explored Music City a bit more. Darrel practiced his ping pong skills at his weekly ping pong group.  For our second conservation day of the week, we did some geocaching.  In case you aren’t familiar with it, geocaching is a world wide scavenger hunt using GPS devices.  Geocachers are given coordinates or a geocache, and using their GPS, they make their way out to the coordinates to find the cache that is hidden.  The Nashville team successfully found 6 geocaches within a 3 mile radius of our home in East Nashville using our little Garmin etrex GPS’s. These geocaches took us too places that none of us knew existed in town, like the smallest park in East Nashville located next to oldest fire station in Nashville, and also an underground spring that pops up from out of the ground. This was a great way to practice GPS skills while exploring parts of town that we probably wouldn’t otherwise go to.

The team has had other ways of exploring the city a bit more as well. We have tasted the spicy morsels of many of the barbeque joints in town, and some members have gone to weekly concerts in the park put on by a radio station in town.  As the season winds down a bit we have all come to realize how awesome it is to have met each other, with each of us coming from very different parts of the country.  We are all happy to have shared this experience with each other.