The week started off strong with nice weather and lots of surveying. With nice weather comes lots of visitors to the Army Corps parks and that, of course, means no rest while surveying. The sun left its mark on all of us, giving some nice tans and a few burns. Nobody was complaining about this beautiful southern weather. Even much of the local wildlife was out and about. Herons, ducks, geese, turkeys, cardinals and the occasional bluebird could be seen at some parks, along with deer, and rabbits. Eventually the heat and sun subsided and made way for some spring showers that will no doubt help to green up the vegetation. The rain also brought along some fantastic thunderstorms that lit up the night sky while constantly bombarding it with a strong rumble.
Our two conservation days were successes. We were lucky enough to host the Atlanta crew again. Together we helped out the Nashville Food Project (http://www.thenashvillefoodproject.org/) again. Together the 6 of us turned over a bed and planted beans and cucumbers. It was an incredibly productive and enjoyable time for everyone. Also that day, Eva, Sophie and Mike participated in a festival that promotes ‘green living’. We partnered with a local business called Worms Way to help spread the word about composting and vermiculture, and how easy it is to apply it at anyone’s home. In exchange for this we got 1lb of worms to use to start our own worm bin at the Nashville house. On our second Conservation day, Sophie and Mike met up with Leah and Clatyon from the Atlanta crew at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to participate in a trash pickup day. There were many volunteers that helped out that day and prizes were given away for the most trash picked up by a team and also the weirdest item picked up. To our amazement the SCA team of 4 out-competed everyone, and won 4 free pizzas from a local pizzeria outside the park. It was an awesome day. The team camped at a secluded spot just across the North Carolina border. There the team met some botanists who were part of an ongoing study in its 7th year that measures forest structure and lichens. Mike was able to help out with their ﬁnal day of data collection, which was a great way to network and gain some professional experience.
It’s been a great two weeks and we are all preparing for the end of this spring season. Sophie is busy ﬁnding housing for her summer crew in Oxford, MS, while Mike heard from his ﬁrst intern that will be staying in Nashville. There is a lot of work still to be done but we are all happy to be doing it!
Written by Mike Vasquez