Project Leader: Natalie R. Wilson Project Dates: Sept. 28, 2010 to May 17, 2011 Email: email@example.com Phone: 760-608-2256 Address: 300 S. Richmond Ave, Ridgecrest, CA 93555
The Rands Crew had their hands full with things to do this hitch, all very fun things, of course. It was an action-packed hitch, with only four full days of restoration and then four days of wildflower talks, wind farm tours, birthday celebrations, ATV training, and teaching small children the wonders of science and appreciating nature. We all started our normal pre-hitch day with packing and cooking but we got to enjoy the new chore of cleaning up the weed infestation in the front and back yard. Marchetti did a great job cleaning the front yard all day, and everyone else joined in at separate times. Thanks to the new task of yard work, the Rands Crew learned where the disposal site was located in Ridgecrest. After a long day of hard work from everyone, we rested up so we could leave for the Sand Canyon Environmental Education Program (SEEP) in the morning.
SEEP is a great program put on by a group of passionate educators on environmental issues and topics such as water quality, history, birds, plants, and art. It is specifically for young children to attend on a Friday afternoon to spend some time in a beautiful part of Sand Canyon as well as learn some great information about the surrounding area! The Rands Crew got to partner with presenters at the water quality and birds stations. Jut and Jack actually got to hold their very own art station. The kids did a fantastic job pulling pranks on Jut and Jack, and one girl even told Jack to get a haircut and called him a hippie. Kids say the darnest things.
After a long and hot day out in the sun at SEEP, the Rands Crew decided to stay in house instead of going out in the field. We woke up early the next morning to attend the Wildflower talk put on by Christine at the Desert Tortoise Natural Area. We learned a lot about the different types of bushes in the area as well as legumes and small wildflowers that are popular desert tortoise food. While we were at the wildflower talk, we saw mating behavior being performed by a male tortoise on a female tortoise. This consisted of the male bobbing his head up and down while circling the female. He occasionally bit her as well as slammed into her twice. She was obviously not having it seeing as she kept shoving dirt in his face and walking away. If only it were that easy in human courtship.
On day four, we finally got to do some restoration! Since we agreed to start a three quarter of a mile long incursion last hitch, it was decided it would be a good idea to try and get some of that done. Also known as the “behemoth” incursion, this incursion has been seared in our brains as the incursion that never ends. Nonetheless, the Rands Crew went in with good spirits and started to do some awesome texture work which is always a learning experience. The crew worked together to figure out the best ways to achieve texture and blending colors. We also made a phenomenal looking berm at the front of the incursion which helps define the boundaries of the road. At the end of the day, Jordan saw a huge rattlesnake while out collecting vegetation, which is exciting and we're all happy she decided not to poke it. Natalie also introduced the crew to effectiveness monitoring on this hitch and took the first two people on that adventure. The concept of effectiveness monitoring is to review past restoration and see how it has held up and if restoration needs to be done again to help hold up the integrity of the landscape.
We also got to do some more awesome restoration work on day five. Jut, Jack, and Natalie all did some great decompaction work on a pretty decently sized hill climb and the rest of the crew were happy to go out and gather vegetation. Steve also visited us that day, which we all appreciated, especially the donuts. There was more effectiveness monitoring done and the crew enjoyed the warm weather which proved to be great conditions to sleep out in. After getting a sufficient amount of work done that day, the crew packed up the white tent and kitchen gear into the trailer in preparation of leaving the Rands for a few days to visit the Tehachapi Wind Farm and Golden Valley.
Tuesday morning the crew woke and got ready for the hour journey to Tehachapi! The environmental education for this hitch was an overall look into wind energy, including a visit to one of California's largest wind farms. The Tehachapi Wind Farm, owned by Terra-Gen, has approximately 4,000-5,000 wind turbines. We were given a presentation and a tour of the wind farm by Karla and Jim at Terra-Gen, who were very helpful and informative and more than pleased to answer all of our questions. They even showed us a Joshua Tree in which a family of Great Horn Owls are living and we all basked in their adorableness. They also gave us the chance to look into a wind turbine and view all the computers and systems contained in them. We learned a great deal from the tour, such as the mechanisms a turbine goes through to generate power, how they deal with re-vegetation of areas after construction, how much electricity can be held in substations, and the environmental impacts and solutions of wind turbines. At the end of the day, we drove to the Tehachapi Mountain Park where we all enjoyed the view of Pondarosa and conifer trees. On our way back out of the park, we ran into Heidi, a current SCA leader who is leading a crew on the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) as well as Jordan's past project leader!
When we got back into town, we found out that ATV training scheduled for the next day was moved back to Friday, so we decided to stay in the house anyway and drive back to the Rands in the morning. We arrived at the Rands around 8:00 AM to start our day of restoration. Being two people down that day due to illness and administration duties, the five at the incursion site got some mad work done. We put in a total of twelve bushes which gave us some great progress on the hill climb. After work, we headed straight to Golden Valley for a birthday celebration for Matt Falco. It was a great visit, especially since all the crews from Ridgecrest got to come and celebrate, and even more so since we got to put a bow on Sophia's head. We were all very excited for the opportunity to celebrate his birthday with him and had a great time with everyone. The All Corp invitations were also passed out, and much to our splendid surprise, it is Will Smith themed and hopefully the Rands Crew will have something awesome planned for it.
In the morning on the day after our night in Golden, we drove back to the Rands to have another day of restoration. We completed more effectiveness monitoring, did more decompaction, finished the hill climb we were previously working on and got some nice looking bushes up on another hill climb. Throughout the day, the crew was looking forward to the next day, which would be ATV training. When we got back to camp, we had a great group discussion and decided it would be best to drive back to the house since the trailer was already packed and three out of the seven Randsies weren't feeling quite up to par. We got back to Ridgecrest at a decent hour and were able to rest and relax before a day full of riding ATV's.
We got to celebrate the end of the hitch riding around on ATV's and learning rider techniques by Eddie at the BLM. It was an action-packed day full of making turns, donuts, riding over logs, and going on a joy ride, or trail ride if you want to be technical. Eddie and Steve were great leaders and even let the group go on two extra rides at the end of the day. Everyone had a great time, seeing as how it was almost everyone's first time on an ATV. Now that we've all had a taste of pushing the throttle, I think its easy to say everyone would definitely enjoy six personal Rand ATV's to drive around and work on restoration.
As always, we spent the last day of hitch doing typical post-hitch duties. We got to spend yet more time doing yard work in the morning, but definitely got the majority of the work done. Now we just have Chore-Fest 2011 to look forward to. All-in-all, it was a busy hitch that was filled with great opportunities and a variety of activities. All the Randsies are looking forward to a more restoration focused hitch, and our last full hitch in the Rands. The season is almost at a close, but we're still ready to get some serious work done.
Vertical Mulch: 42
Seed Pits: 40
Berm Constructed on R44
The disposal site is located off of Jack's Ranch Road, which you just take Ridgecrest Blvd. down and turn left on Jack's Ranch Road and follow the signs to the disposal site. Yard work should never be a solo person job because it can make people go crazy. With warmer days ahead, the heat can be a detriment seeing as how it brings forth bugs and causes food to go bad faster.