The kick off for the Boise Fish TrACS program was on February 1st with 4 days of orientation in the SCA Boise office. We covered everything from group expectations and personal behavior to managing our Access Database and sending a fax. This week also gave us the opportunity to get settled into our new Boise homes and spend a weekend exploring the area before heading to the primary SCA Corps member training.
On February 8th we traveled to Tucson, AZ for the large SCA Corps member training which included the members for the Native Plant, Fire, and Trails teams. The days were bright and warm and the nights were crisp and filled with stars. During our 5 days at the Triangle Y YMCA camp just north of the Catalina Mountains we learned about the history and breadth of the SCA, how to manage risk in the field, how to drive defensively, and the SCA rules, policies, and guidelines. Those of us who were not already certified in wilderness first aid attended a 2 day Wilderness First Aid course held by Aerie Backcountry Medicine. About half of the group already had this level of training or higher so they had the chance to participate in a Leave No Trace Trainer course consisting of 2 days hiking and presenting the principles of LNT and discussing teaching styles. Those members who attended the WFA certification also attended an evening Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop.
After our 5 days with the rest of SCA western Corps, we broke off to hold our own field training. We spent 4 days doing “test runs” of the entire data collection process in the field at the Buenos Aires and the San Bernardino NWRs in southern Arizona. We were lucky to have a few folks from the FWS and Federal Highways come out for a portion of the training and help troubleshoot a few questions the group had. We learned the intricacies of the inventory process and familiarized ourselves with the data collection and processing. We also became acutely aware of the technical challenges involved with Trimble units and ESRI software. These difficulties were greatly alleviated by the staff at the Buenos Aires NWR who let us use their visitors center conference room for the better part of 2 days. Their hospitality made the training much more productive. On the 18th, 7 of us flew back to Boise from the Tucson airport. Tyler, Michael, Toji, Alex, and Nick stayed in Arizona to prepare a mini hitch covering the rest of the state.