A whirlwind of planting 11/14/2011 to 11/17/2011

This week was permeated with a feeling that the Native Plant Corps and their projects at the Grand Canyon are winding down. We planted our last planting site at the Paiute apartments, putting Gambel oaks into a shady spot directly in front of an apartment. It was our last week working with an ACE crew. In this week and the previous week, we were able to plant an incredible number of plants—just under 2,000! These were almost entirely grass plugs, and the planting went fast because we did not have to berm, cage, or water them. These plantings were additional plantings in drainages and shady areas around the apartments, and hopefully they will be wet enough that supplemental watering will not be necessary. We also finished mulching, for the most part. To commemorate this last week with ACE and all the hard work they have put into our project, especially their crew leader Tony, we had a potluck at the labor cabins with them.
We were able to do some interesting educational activities this week. Cliff gave a lunch time talk about mycology as part of the ongoing “topics in restoration” that Danielle started. We were also able to attend part of a Native American heritage celebration at the Shrine of the Ages. Rex Tilousi, a Havasupai elder, talked about how the Havasupai lived in the canyon and on the rims, and some of the equipment such as baskets and pots they used. The Havasupai think of themselves as being part of the canyon, and Rex emphasized this by saying “I am the Grand Canyon”. We also saw the Apache crown dance, which was quite exciting. The dancers painted their bodies black and were adorned with pinyon branches and large head adornments in various shapes. The warrior spirit of the Apache was clear in this energetic dance.
We have now planted just over 10,000 plants. The goal we have been striving for set by the Agency was 15,000 plants, but the actual number planned by the Agency is more like 12,700, meaning that we are very close!