My name is Max Gordon and I am one of the four Native Plant Corps crew members serving under Molly Downer here at the Visitor Center in the heart of Grand Canyon National Park. This past five-day work week, from the eighteenth to the twenty-second of October, I acted as Field-Leader-For-a-Week in lieu of Molly. This is a rotating responsibility that all of us will share from week to week over the course of our term of service. Even though the week has past, it is one of my duties to write up a summary of our activities so as to better inform the readership of our unique mission here at one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Enjoy!
On Monday the eighteenth, we began with a day of research at the scientific library within the headquarters building in preparation for our presentation to SCA’s NPC program coordinator, Mike. Each one of us will present a topic related to the Grand Canyon; I, for my part, will speak to the future of the Colorado River and the Southwestern United States as a whole due to Climate Change. We will share our findings with Mike when he conducts a site visit in the middle of November.
By Tuesday morning, we were ready to be outside and luckily, the weather cooperated with sun, perfect weather for watering. One planting site only yards away from the edge of the Rim needed to be watered as well as weeded. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch break by taking advantage of the view from our “office”. We did manage to finish that spot with enough time to spare to move on to our next highest priority: an established planting site close to the Bookstore and the Visitor Center building.
Wednesday morning threatened with thunder and lightning so we occupied ourselves by doing some work indoors at the Nursery. We had a very civilized time cleaning seed, sitting close to the heater and listening all the while to classical music on National Public Radio. It would have been perfect if only we had had some tea! After lunch, you could say that we ‘winterized’ cages by securing any loose ones in another planting site; past winter gusts have been known to carry some into parking lots and other places where they don’t belong. Bad weather returned with a vengeance so we waited it out and then gave our project another hour of our time.
Thursdays are office days for Molly so the four of us returned to the site near the Bookstore in order to finish what we began on Tuesday. As luck would have it, we finished it just before lunch and later moved on to a different planting site on the opposite end of the visitor center that really needed some help as the noxious weeds were very nearly devouring the poor natives. We rescued them right in the nick of time and put up with some heavy rain at times to boot.
Friday was a different kettle of fish altogether as we planted and generally beautified the area immediately surrounding a monument of sorts known as the Landmark, mere feet from Mather Point. This was done ahead of a visit by some very helpful donors on the following Monday.