The Houston crew started off ﬁrst thing Monday morning with orientation at the oﬃce. Everyone was able to meet for the ﬁrst time, learn the names of tools they’d be using and learn what projects they will be doing in the next six weeks. Orientation also gave students a chance to get a feel for what they would be doing out in the ﬁeld. They brought their own lunches, wore work attire and played games outside to get used to the heat. We have to get used to the heat in Houston!
Day two was oﬃcially our ﬁrst day in the ﬁeld and my crew was assigned to Spring Creek Greenway. Our ﬁrst assignment? Create a 508 foot trail. Bobby and Mike, directors of this assignment, helped put our work into a broader environmental context. At the end of the trail there is a bog; this bog releases water out into the environment providing nutrients for the plants around it. Therefore, nothing grows out of the area where the bog releases its nutrients and when you look out into the ﬁeld all you see is a giant circle and trees surrounding it. As Booby and Mike explained, “it looks like aliens landed here, when you ﬁrst take a look at it.”
Before view of the trail
Our goal was to create a trail along with benches and a trashcan holder so that visitors could walk down the trail and enjoy the view of the bog. In only three days we cut down all of the plants and placed down the mulch on the freshly cut trail! The best part of the day was walking down the ﬁnished trail and seeing the student’s amazed faces. To be able to see their work, from start to ﬁnish and hear them say “I can’t believe we did this” was by far the most rewarding part of the day.
For a lot of our students this is their ﬁrst job and it’s their ﬁrst time working in the outdoors, so getting used to the Houston heat can deﬁnitely be a challenge. I’m very proud to say that our crew was more than willing to learn and adjust to the weather. They all worked very hard as a team to accomplish the trail. At the end of the day, working on the trail is the glue that binds them together.