The Fall Grand Canyon Team has shown up just in time to for the fall rush of volunteers. They bring their energy, enthusiasm, and love of plants to the vegetation office. The first week of training came and went, the highlight of the week was most likely the sunset and pizza at Shoshone point on Thursday. Thursday also marked their first day of real work. We gathered tools, moved mulch, and prepped our site for the volunteers we would host on Monday morning.
Monday started our 8 days on, 5 days off schedule. We welcomed 13 Elder Hostel - Road Scholars volunteers to the Visitor Center Project. The plan was to seed and mulch the landmark areas as well as pull invasives from Planting Site 5 (P5). We got some work done in the morning then the weather started. We had to end the day early because of thunder storms. The next day we expected bad weather as well so the volunteers took the day off to explore surrounding areas in their van. That day the team did an emergency plant salvage in P7. It was a cold and wet day, but no lightning so we spent the morning salvaging plants that were planted in P7 earlier in the year. The construction plans changed, so they had to take out a portion of our planting site that had already been planted. We saved 77 plants that were marked for destruction by pavement just in time... later that week I saw them begin grading the land. On Wednesday we got the voluteers back and they really wanted to work, but the weather said no. There were tornado touchdowns outside of Flagstaff and that weather system was heading our way. Fortunately nothing made it close to the South Rim, but we still had to wait out the storms before we could begin work. Once we were cleared to get back in the field we lead the volunteers in pulling invasives from P5, and almost finished the entire site which is 2,041 m2. Because we had them removing cages, pulling weeds, and reattaching cages the progress was slow but steady. After that volunteer group was finished we had a few days to finish P5 and prep for the next volunteer group. We did a lot of mulch collection, and finished seeding and mulching the landmark area. The Grand Canyon Trust volunteers worked with us on Saturday and Sunday to put the finishing touches on the landmark... we planted grass plugs, prickly pear cacti, and about 15 more basins then caged them all. It was a small but mighty group of volunteers and I was greatful that Mike Wolcott (Veg Crew Lead) was there to help direct and get things done. On Monday we had one remaining GCT volunteer and we got 5 ACE volunteers to help with invasive removal at P1.
That about sums up those two weeks, the team has learned a lot of invasive and native plants right away because you have to when you are pulling invasives all day. They also got a chance to do seed collection, salvage, planting, seeding, mulching, caging, and a little watering from a water buffalo. Overall, the first two weeks were a success - we got a lot of work done and learned a lot too.
Vacation plans - Zion National Park and Grand Canyon hikes