Project Leader: Dawn Scheckman Cellular Phone: 208-914-0400
Brendan Knipfing 
I'm 18 years old and have lived in Colts Neck, New Jersey all my life. I graduated from Colts Neck High School this year. The only other previous work I have with the sca is that I did a 5 week Conservation Crew in Sequoia National Park last summer. It was my first time out West and I really loved it. Some of the activities I enjoy are longboarding, skimboarding, hacky sack, listening to music, and building swings, if you can call that an activity. Some bands I enjoy listening to are Mumford and Sons, Fleet Foxes, Modesst Mouse, The Antlers, and many others. I love to be out in the wilderness and really seeing the true beauty of nature, which is what I am most excited for during this program.
Leana Weissberg 
Leana is a successful Orange Curtain (County) escapist, who loved every minute of her Environmental Studies degree at San Francisco State University, including the year in Germany where she was schooled in (and by) hard science and engineering. With an academic and mental focus on sustainability and social justice, she’s more accustomed to urban agriculture projects and working with children than vertical mulching and hard-core habitat restoration. No worries – she’s excited and thankful for the opportunity to take on this adventure with the SCA, deepening her awe for the desert and seeing it change throughout the year. When she’s not nerding out on environmental issues, Leana’s many loves in life include cycling (bike rights!), singing, yoga, and making other people laugh.
Dawn Scheckman 
Dawn Scheckman is the 2011-2012 project leader for the Owens Peak Wilderness Crew in the Desert Restoration Corps. She recently completed a ten month ‘tour’ with the SCA in the DRC New Mexico/ California restoration program. During this time she lived, worked, and slept through 2 degree Farenheight conditions, hale storms, snow, rain, 70 mph winds, a cloud of smoke from the great Arizona forest fires, and some of the most beautiful weather on earth. She has seen some of the most amazing sunrises ascending above the Organ Mountains of New Mexico and the “purple mountains” of Blythe, CA, observed meteor showers from her “bed,” and gazed for countless hours at the Milky Way. Every other day she wakes up and exclaims to herself, “my gosh, this is my job!” From the cool insects, snakes, and plants to the quiet stillness, she has seen and witnessed the abounding beauty of desert and high-desert landscapes. As project leader she wants to share the unbounded awesomeness of the great North American deserts with her crew. Through this coming season she hopes to empower each crew member to achieve his or her personal goals as well as to embark on a solid path of leadership and environmental stewardship.
"Teams provide multiple perspectives on how to meet a need or reach a goal, thus devising several alternatives for each situation. Individual insight is seldom as broad and deep as a group’s when it takes on a problem."
-John C. Maxwell
We will be working in the Owens Peak Wilderness Area and potentially doing some collaborative projects with another crew in the Grass Valley Wilderness. OPW is an incredible landscape. It is the site of convergence of three major eco-systems including the Mojave Desert, the scrub bush of the Great Basin, and the Pinyon-Juniper forests of the high Sierras. It is home to highest point in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, Owens Peak, which stands at 8,400'. We will work and camp under the shadow of striking mountain peaks and encounter a diversity of plant life and animals ranging from Joshua Trees to Golden Eagles. The Owens Peak Wilderness is also tightly wound with the Los Angeles Aqueduct. As we drive around we will encounter large black and white piping that pumps water over 150 miles south west to LA. Some of the piping dates back to the turn of the 20th century. The creation of the LA aqueduct virtually destroyed the water table in Owens Valley. To find out more, read: http://www.dbc.uci.edu/sustain/global/sensem/beked297.htm 
OPW is increasingly becoming a playground for Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) users. These riders run down vegetation and wildlife, turning the diverse and fragile desert ecology into a wasteland. Our objective as a corps is to prevent OHV-ers from "permeating the wilderness boundary." We will do this through a variety of means including restoration work and constructing hard barriers. Restoration work involves planting 'dead stuff' in the ground to disguise the trails these OHV users incidentally create from repeated wilderness forays on their "macho mobiles." It is a subtle way of discouraging OHV-ers from joy riding on public lands. Installing hard barriers like t-post fences and bollards is another way we will take on the challenge of OHVers. This season will be the second year that the DRC will host a crew in this wilderness area.
Luke Anderson 
I am a 24-year-old who grew up around the beautiful Twin Cities. After cramming my head with psychology, philosophy and sociology, and 3 years as an RA at Bethel University I was quite exhausted. So I took a year off, moved back in with my parents, and bummed around Minnesota. After hearing the question, “what’s next?” more times than I could count, I decided to do something fun and adventurous. The SCA was the obvious choice.
I love to hike, camp, swim, bike, climb and most other things outdoors. I also enjoy reading, music and a strong cup of coffee. Books, conversations, and collecting knowledge also interest me.
In the future I hope to travel, go to grad school, and change the world. But isn’t that the dream of all social science majors?
Spirit animal: rabbit
Favorite color: blue
Dog’s name: Max
Emily Kauffman 
I'm a recent college grad from Goshen College in northern Indiana. I studied environmental science and I am looking forward to putting my degree to use and hopefully makin' some monies to pay off those student loans. I grew up on a farm in Illinois and always enjoyed going on adventures into the pasture/woods with my brother and trusty dog companion, Angus.
I love working outdoors and simply just being in nature. Last summer I worked for the Utah Conservation corps and loved it. I got to work in Zion national park, the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho, and in Wyoming. This summer I am working in Illinois at Pioneer in the corn fields. However, I'm really excited to travel to California and experience some desert living.
Clayton Buffer 
Clayton Buffer is a habitual wanderer. His hobbies include hiking, biking, moseying, meandering, and occasionally he'll read a book. He hails from the great state of Ohio and is excited to count himself among the next generation of young emigres fleeing from the Midwest. Clayton considers himself blessed to be a part of the Owens Peak Crew and can't wait to work in the desert and mountains (neither of which can be found in Ohio).