Our fourth hitch began with Danny volunteering to be our first Hitch Leader of the season. With having no Native Plant Corps experience, Danny would have to reshape his trail style to plant style. The weather felt like summer and our crew learned just how weird weather can be in Northwest Indiana. Every day during our fourth hitch, the temperatures were in the eighties and not a cloud could be seen in the sky.
Planting went well. The team worked with a couple of new plant species and made headway on decreasing the huge stockpile of plants at the NPS greenhouse that need to be planted before winter arrives. Our team exceeded all expectations again by planting as no team has ever planted before. Adam our crew leader made it a point to remind us to take-5 for safety and the crew has come to fear and respect the Porter county monster that lurks in the bogs and wetlands of Northwest Indiana. Luckily no one was injured but we all learned an important lesson about crypto-zoology.
Wednesday by far was the best day of the week. We learned what it was like to truly sink into the bog while rescuing Carex stricta plants from rising waters. Flats of plants were moved into more accessible areas for planting and we all got a strenuous work out. In a heated question of the day, Danny was reminded of his trail jockness when he chose Lord of the Rings (a glorified hiking story) over the original Star Wars movies as the better triology.
Thursday was a momentous day as the crew was thrust into the glamorous limelight of conservation stardom. With cameras rolling the crew was interviewed by some Purdue University students to explain why we carry on the mission of conservation and how our project was being implemented. After signing autographs the week came to a close.