Project Leader: Peter Gernsheimer Project Dates: 9/8/10 to 6/24/11 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 208.914.0410 Address: 903 Lopez St, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Samantha checking in for Round 2 as HawkCo. This hitch is kind of an unusual one in that we are trying new things with ToCo responsibilities, group meetings, and food budgeting. I will get to that eventually.
Instead of going into the field right away like usual, we met up with an extremely important person in DRC/SCA/BLM framework, Chris Roholt; he is one of the starters of the DRC and has helped shape what it is now today. Really though, what a character! A tug and stop, fast-paced guy with a snappy sense of humor. It was great to hear what he had to say about the DRC history, and how it is now this ingrained program within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) throughout the Southwest deserts. He also gave us some insight as to why certain things and techniques are employed in this line of work. After our stints with the OHVers destroying our laborious work, it was imperative we be encouraged to just keep pushing through the hard work by a person such as Chris to keep in mind the bigger picture. It is slow progress, but progress and change nonetheless. He took us to meet another inspirational person, Oscar Clarke an extraordinary natural historian who established UC Riverside’s Herbarium and has discovered several new plants, one of which was deemed to have been extinct. It was great to talk to and meet 2 men full of knowledge and experience in the science and environment/land management fields! For me, it brought back nostalgic feelings of interactions with science-y Academics during my university days. Chris gave each of us the remaining California BLM Wilderness Maps that are no longer are in print and Oscar gave us his last copies of the evolutionary family tree of life he made himself. See pictures below. It was a very enlightening, educational, and generous day for us.
The desert was blessed with rain last night and all day today. It also brought chilling winds. Southwest deserts are known to have minute amounts of rain and because of that, the environment seals itself up tightly to preserve whatever moisture in the ground and flora. Because of that tight seal, when it does actually rain, none of the precipitation is immediately absorbed and the whole area floods. This is unfortunate for us because everything becomes soaked: tents, tarps, clothes, sleeping bags and pads, etc. I trusted my tarp and tent too readily and when I woke up in the morning, all of my affects were in a cold puddle. It was a physically and mentally taxing day, hauling rock bags up and down a steep hill while wearing soaked clothes. HOWEVER, it could have been plenty worse; this damp weather only lasted a day and a half…thank goodness!
It was our crew’s turn to have a mid-program re-evaluation retreat with Darren Gruetze, the DRC Program Coordinator, although it wasn’t exactly a retreat because we didn’t go anywhere; he came to us. We took this time to reflect on and reinforce the community we started back in September and also address changes we want to see amongst ourselves. It was an intense but constructive few days.
Peter, our leader, has officially deserted us. I suppose it is only appropriate since we do live and work in the desert. A man named Darren came to our camp a few days ago to speak persuasive, guiding words; he is the reason Peter left us. Those words took him away, back to “civilization” where papers come out of noisy mechanical boxes and people jabber into the Blackberry fruit?? As HawkCo, it is my responsibility to guide our crew now. I will ensure that Peter rejoins the crew he once led. However, the only way we will accept his desertion is if he makes us a dessert-like meal of fruity pancakes and hand-tapped caramel maple syrup.
Despite my farcical Day 7 entry, we finished the rest of hitch perfectly fine without Peter. We have been together for practically 6 months and we still have 4 months to go; that gives us plenty of time to challenge ourselves to practice and learn what it means to be a leader and take on leadership roles. As I mentioned earlier, this was a hitch of experiments and growth. That was our very first time operating as a crew without our project leader, which is actually quite a common occurrence for other DRC crews. There are going to be future instances where Peter won’t be with us in the again. The AllCorps hitch marked the beginning of some positive changes; as a group, we have redefined the role of ToCo and the crew’s role in general.
For me, this was a tough hitch in that we ONLY did hill climbs and rock work, but at the same time, it was an enjoyable challenge to step out of my comfortable crew member status and rise to take on the added ToCo responsibilites. There aren’t too many opportunities in school or other types of work where one can lead a group in a no-pressure, non-judgmental setting while also receiving constructive criticism in the end.