Follow Me: SCA member blogs from the field

Follow Me is the place to read field dispatches from SCA members serving the planet all over the USA.

Blood poured down my nose onto my shirt and to the soil below. I thought for a second that maybe the nutrients in the redness that I saw would be appreciated by the life around. Maybe even the plant that I was putting into the ground could swallow it up with its roots once I covered them with soil and patted it down.

One thing that Jonah Keane’s speech at All Corps last week made me think about is, “the bubble.” The bubble is a term that I have heard a lot since joining SCA NH Corps and I have often wondered why. It’s the kind of thing that you can only realize with a bit of reflection, which is something that I get to do a lot here and with this blog.

What do you think of when you hear the term conservation? Admittedly the first things that jumps to my mind are trail work and invasive species removal because that’s all I’ve known for so many years.

(Photo above) The park at sunset: Walter H. Laufer, park patron

I am sure most of you are reading this blog because like me, you also have a love of wild things and wild places. You may even have had an SCA experience of your own and are looking to hear of others on their journeys. The photo you see above is one that has history.

Data in, data out. This past week I have thumbed through pages and pages of elevation spreadsheets- processing and organizing points for future conclusions. Data entry is important, and building that breadth of information is so necessary in conservation.

As the widely known Disney song conveys to us, the “circle of life moves us all”, but sometimes it can be hard to remember this on a day to day basis as life takes on a quotidian pace. This is why I consider myself lucky to be an SCA at Fire Island National Seashore as a plant biology intern.

(Photo above) A pair of American Oystercatchers

There’s something about New England that keeps drawing me back every summer. It started with a visit to rustic and folksy Vermont with a little of bustling Boston back in 2010.

One of the biggest perks of working at a national Wildlife Refuge as an SCA intern is the amount of opportunities available outside of the job description. Everyone at the Refuge, my supervisor in particular, have been incredibly supportive and active in making sure that I have a real taste of what’s available to me in the Service.

I’ve been trudging and mucking around in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge for almost two months (!) now.

Indian Creek Rec. Area near Markleeville, CA

Number 11: Appreciate and choose, when possible, meaningful work rather than just making a living.
-from Arne Naess’ “Lifestyle Trends Within the Deep Ecology Movement”

Five days ago, all of this around me – the land, the people, the flora and fauna – was foreign.

Standing in a booth at the back of a circus-sized tent with the smell of fried dough and the sounds of bleating farm animals in the air, we were tasked with drawing in and keeping the attention of wiggling children at the Greene County Youth Fair.

(Photo above) Our unamused faces at Mount Rushmore on the 4th of July

—As Teddy Roosevelt always said: ‘Speak softly, but carry a large rock bar’.—

Work days in South Dakota quickly coming to an end, it was time for the much anticipated Rec trip which was to be a smorgasbord of all the activities the Black Hills has to offer.

Wheew! So it’s been awhile since I last slowed down to document the many adventures of a Fire Effects Monitoring Intern. But now I’m coming at you full speed with a new one, Central Oregon and the John Day Fossil Beds!

After an eleven hour drive from good old Marblemout, WA, we pull up to our campsite with plenty of day light to spare.

Image 1: Hiking Static Peak, Elevation 11,303 feet

The wild that we always see in movies and in parks is very different from the human lifestyle, from civilization. Most of the people in the US do not live by the wild, and have no knowledge in how to survive or deal with it.

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Aboard the Serac, the Park research vessel, we bob gently in Aialik Bay, listening to the sound of gulls, surf, and an ancient tidewater glacier calving. Every 5 minutes or so, a piece of the massive ice wall half a mile ahead rips away with a noise like thunder and gunshots all at once, plunging into the sea below and sending up a cloud of spray.

Back in January, when I was still learning about all of the different events which we would be taking part during our 10 month program, someone told me about an SCA AllCorps gathering taking place in July.

(above) This picture taken after dominating the last bit of trail and hiking out laden with tools.

Today we filled up another truck load of herbicide and took the jugs out to the great marsh. We strapped on our backpack sprayers and the five of us continued to march up and down the twenty acre plot, making sure that even the littlest of Cattail would not be able to reach maturity. When I am spraying, people passing by often ask me questions as to what I am doing and why.

At the fire hall, tension crackled. In between gleaming fire engines, volunteers in rain gear and torn flannel murmured to each other, speculating about the lost racer—where he was last seen, what he was wearing, where he might have gone off the narrow race trail and into the bush.