Project Leader: Shannon Y. Waldron Project Dates: August 8,2010-May 17,2011 Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
On October 5th, we arrived at the Great Falls Basin located just outside of Trona, CA. It was amazing that such a magnificent rock outcrop, a flowing waterfall after a significant rain event, existed since the dirt road that leads to it can be easily overlooked as it remains hidden from the main road.
It was here at the Great Falls Basin under the clear blue skies and hot desert sun (with exception of a couple of rainy nights) where we spent 17 days with 5 DRC crews learning about how to get the most out of our experience working in the DRC over the next 8 months by participating in various leadership and community building workshops. We covered Leave No Trace principles when in the backcountry setting, and also familiarized ourselves with the tools that we would be learning to use and love while gaining an insight on desert restoration theory and employing current SCA field restoration techniques.
We got to use our tools and restoration techniques for the first time by breaking up into groups with the project leaders and tackling various work sites that had incursions which needed to be worked on. It was apparent that working in these groups required a lot of planning and good communication and once everyone got their creative juices flowing, we had a strong idea on how we wanted to approach the project and get moving! When we finished the project, we were filled with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. We stood together and took a step back to admire our hard work, and realized how much energy seeing the finished product gave us to look forward to in the coming months.
The last 9 days of training concluded with an intense Wilderness First Responder course led by awesome Aerie instructors. This course trained us how to properly act and provide treatment as a caregiver in backcountry emergency situations. Everyone got plenty of experience acting as patients and caregivers. We went through a night scenario where everyone was tested on their care giving and leadership capabilities. It's crazy how a short walk from our tents down in the desert wash on a chilly, starry night with talented actors/actresses as patients can make a scenario turn into something that's so vivid and real. So real that pants were definitely cut away to access a tibia-fibula fracture on a particular patient that was in need of splinting. That night we were focused and alert with our adrenaline pumping as if we had all been given about three shots of epinephrine, and as result we treated and prepared to evacuate our patients to the best of our abilities.
The day before we took our written test, we broke up into two teams in order to perfect our skills as acting patients and meticulous caregivers. One scenario involved an SCA worksite in which crew members working at a restoration site were thrown around by a tornado which also involved fatal lightning strikes. The other scenario involved a Southern family reunion gone wrong after loading a deep fryer with a frozen turkey that caused a massive explosion sending hushpuppies everywhere! A couple of intoxicated family members were severely injured in a car accident that happened while driving for help after the explosion. All in all, the two scenarios gave everyone opportunity to be experienced patients and caregivers.
Finally, after filling our brains with massive amounts of information, we were ready to embark on a new journey where we would be introduced to our site in the Golden Valley Wilderness. We hope that the rest of the DRC crews have nice and productive hitches to come. Best wishes from the Golden Valley Crew!