Chris Cheng, 17, just returned home to El Cerrito from three weeks in Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado. This beautiful park is best known for its dinosaur fossil collection in the Dinosaur Quarry, but what Chris and his crew did this summer had to do with a modern kind of beast…
Chris spent a chunk of his summer setting up a barbed wire fence to prevent wandering cows from grazing outside of established areas and doing resource damage. If cows are allowed to graze uncontrolled they can cause serious soil erosion and a host of accompanying environmental problems. That many ranchers are allowed to graze their cows on public lands for what many believe is a too low cost is a controversial issue.
Chris and his crew built over three fourths of a mile of barbed wire fence to halt the cows in their tracks and force them to wander elsewhere.
He felt that CLC prepared him socially for his crew this summer by putting together a group of strangers and having them work towards a common goal. He said this taught him how to become friends with strangers, which helped him become close with his crew members this summer. “In the beginning I was homesick, but then it disappeared because the crew became my family,” said Chris.
His best memory was during the crew’s Recreation Trip when they hiked to a mountain with snow and played in the snow for a few hours, making snow angels and sliding down the slope on their behinds.
When I asked if the experience changed him in any way, he responded, “It made me more confident in myself.”