Finishing Up 
We are now ending our second to last week here in the Grand Canyon. Planting, watering and weeding has just about come to an end due to the cold/snowy weather. The team has been splitting up and helping other staff members finish up their winter work. Monday morning Christine and I helped Ash in the nursery with transplanting. We were transplanting baby fernbush seedlings from flats into individual plugs to help them grow without any added competition. Very tedious work. Tuesday the enitre group went out to Desert View to help the crew cage and mulch the visitor center and road scar. The team really enjoyed our time out there, as it provided a much needed change of scenery. Wednesday our crew continued to help Ash with transplanting and finished up our GPS tasks from the previous week. Max and I also continued our work on completing some identification cards that will help future NPC to learn the native plants at a faster rate. Thursday we all enjoyed a hike down to Dripping Springs in the canyon. Great week!
Site Visit Week! 
Monday, November 15, 2010
The crew worked on the SCA Presentation for Mike Stefonsic at the GC Research Library. It consisted of internet research, book reading and preparing powerpoint slides.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Mike Stefonsic arrived at the site for a visit. During the morning, crew interviews were conducted to all the individual members and Molly. While interviews were conducted, preparations for the presentation were completed by those waiting for their interview. Once they were completed, the crew went out with two water buffaloes and watered P8, Island C-1, P2, P3 and P4.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
During the morning, the crewmembers presented Mike S. the material the individuals researched. Laura presented about the history about the Native American tribes that lived around the Grand Canyon. Christine borrowed select plants from the nursery and described about ethnobotany and uses the natives had for each plant, such as edibility, medicinal or spiritual. Chris presented about the current state of the Colorado River with a particular focus on the Glen Canyon Dam and how it has affected the ecology of the river. Max described how climate change could potentially change the Colorado River and what impacts these changes can bring. Once the presentations concluded, the teams split up. One team watered P6, P5, P2 and P4. The other team began construction of an irrigation system outside the Landmark Bathrooms in preparations for volunteers on Thursday.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
The crews were split in two again. One team watered P3, P4 and used one tank for P1.The other team seeded and mulched the Landmark Bathrooms. Chris took some time to collect a few prickly pear pads that were planted at the bathrooms. Once the Bathrooms were completed, the day finished with caging a few remaining plants at P4.
Friday, November 19, 2010
The last day of the week consisted of vehicle maintenance in the morning. Three vehicle inspections were done, one truck was refueled. After the inspections, one team took a water buffalo and finished watering P1. The other team spread the remaining amount of duff from a few weeks ago around the Landmark. Some areas were eroding away and it was densely covered. The Bathrooms were also finished with one more load of mulch.
The Veteran's Day holiday left us with a short week to complete our many tasks. Our team was anxious to get to the research library to finish up our projects. We trudged away on our research and PowerPoints for half of our time, while the other half was spent in the field. We watered on Monday, making sure to prioritize our recently planted crop at Planting Site 4, behind the Visitor's center. We seeded and mulched this same site. It looks great now that everything has come together! On Wednesday the weather was treacherous - cold, windy and overcast, with the occasional sleet-like rain. Nevertheless, we were seeding and mulching Planting Site 7, which seems to be jinxed, as every time we work there, the weather turns sour (flashback to salvaging the muddy site in frigid, pouring rain.) The seeding plan for P7 will make for an exciting experiment. The site is divided into a grid, where half is seeded and mulched while the other half is exclusively mulched. It will be interesting to see how the site reacts over time to this difference in management.
My name is Laura Middleton. The week of November 1st - November 5th I acted as field leader for the Grand Canyon Native Plant Corps. The plants are still in need of water since it has been a suprisingly mild fall so far. Starting Monday we split off into watering teams to address some of the planting sites that were in greatest need of water. Chrisine and I used the moisture meter to determine which sites were in greatest need of watering. We then prioritized the watering based on the moisture meter numbers. Most of the sites were around 6-8 however, some sites, particuarly P-1 was very dry. The other team also watered some of the sites that we knew would be very dry and in desperate need of water. Later in the week we weeded invasives at p-4. P-4 is located directly behind the visitor's center and has almost been entirely taken over by knottweed. We spent tuesday pulling Knottweed and other invasives and prepared ourselves for our group of volunteers coming on Wednesday. Wednesday was a very productive day! Our volunteers from the fundamental group were very enthusiastic about helping us with planting. At the end of the day we had almost planted the entire area! The rest of the week, Thursday and Friday, consisted of a combination of watering, weeding and finishing up planting P-4. Great week!
A Good Week 
Last week in October... can't believe we are done with our first month so soon. I want time to slow down just a little bit. The team is working well together this week. We worked in the office Monday and Tuesday morning toward completing the preparations for our mid-season project. We have one more office day left before Mike gets here and we get to present.
We also went to a Mather Ampitheater and Landmark Dedication and Tribal blessing. Both SCA crews (Spring and Fall) contributed to planting the landmark feature near Mather Point. Because it was such a visible spot in the park we opened up our planting to park service staff from other divisions and several people came by to help plant and contribute to the natural beauty. Many vegetation staff came out to help plant for a day. Thanks go out to Jan, Lori, Ryan, Andrew, Joy, Emily D, Mike, and anyone else that I missed from the veg crew that put plants in the ground, ripped out the bad plants, planned the landscaping, hauled the mulch, etc. It looks beautiful. After the recognition ceremony at the Ampitheater, a Havasupai woman did a special blessing of the Landmark Feature. I will come back in years to come to check up on this area and water it if need be. It is going to be gorgeous.
We said goodbye to our last ACE crew this week. We are done working with them for the season. In combination with my crew they hauled maybe 5 truck loads of mulch to P1, collected over 40 bags of duff, pulled numerous invasive weeds from P3, and hauled probably close to 2 tons of dirt to help prep another planting site. Mike was their leader and he will be missed here at the canyon, we was a joy to work with and knew how to bring the best out of his team.
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.
The Fall Grand Canyon Team has shown up just in time to for the fall rush of volunteers. They bring their energy, enthusiasm, and love of plants to the vegetation office. The first week of training came and went, the highlight of the week was most likely the sunset and pizza at Shoshone point on Thursday. Thursday also marked their first day of real work. We gathered tools, moved mulch, and prepped our site for the volunteers we would host on Monday morning.
Monday started our 8 days on, 5 days off schedule. We welcomed 13 Elder Hostel - Road Scholars volunteers to the Visitor Center Project. The plan was to seed and mulch the landmark areas as well as pull invasives from Planting Site 5 (P5). We got some work done in the morning then the weather started. We had to end the day early because of thunder storms. The next day we expected bad weather as well so the volunteers took the day off to explore surrounding areas in their van. That day the team did an emergency plant salvage in P7. It was a cold and wet day, but no lightning so we spent the morning salvaging plants that were planted in P7 earlier in the year. The construction plans changed, so they had to take out a portion of our planting site that had already been planted. We saved 77 plants that were marked for destruction by pavement just in time... later that week I saw them begin grading the land. On Wednesday we got the voluteers back and they really wanted to work, but the weather said no. There were tornado touchdowns outside of Flagstaff and that weather system was heading our way. Fortunately nothing made it close to the South Rim, but we still had to wait out the storms before we could begin work. Once we were cleared to get back in the field we lead the volunteers in pulling invasives from P5, and almost finished the entire site which is 2,041 m2. Because we had them removing cages, pulling weeds, and reattaching cages the progress was slow but steady. After that volunteer group was finished we had a few days to finish P5 and prep for the next volunteer group. We did a lot of mulch collection, and finished seeding and mulching the landmark area. The Grand Canyon Trust volunteers worked with us on Saturday and Sunday to put the finishing touches on the landmark... we planted grass plugs, prickly pear cacti, and about 15 more basins then caged them all. It was a small but mighty group of volunteers and I was greatful that Mike Wolcott (Veg Crew Lead) was there to help direct and get things done. On Monday we had one remaining GCT volunteer and we got 5 ACE volunteers to help with invasive removal at P1.
That about sums up those two weeks, the team has learned a lot of invasive and native plants right away because you have to when you are pulling invasives all day. They also got a chance to do seed collection, salvage, planting, seeding, mulching, caging, and a little watering from a water buffalo. Overall, the first two weeks were a success - we got a lot of work done and learned a lot too.
Vacation plans - Zion National Park and Grand Canyon hikes
Chris is a self proclaimed plantaholic. He is 26 years old and grew up in Seattle, WA. He studied atmopheric sciences at the University of Washingon with minors in geology and environmental science. His first SCA position was in Idaho where he was tasked with searching for whitebark pine trees during the summer of 2010. He joined the Grand Canyon Revegetation team with anticipation to learn desert restoration techniques and desert plant ID. He plans on using these experiences to help enhance his career opportunties and narrow his area of study for graduate school. Chris is an avid hiker, and has planned multiple backpacking trips here at The Canyon and other near by parks. He enjoys the outdoors, running, and cycling. One of his goals is to cycle the Pan-American highway form Purdhoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, South America starting next summer.
Max is a Seattle native who has come to the field of conservaiton, not through under-graduate studies, but rather through formative life experiences. In particular, his service with the Peace Corps in Madagascar, impressed upon him the importance of environmental stewardship. His only previous experience with the SCA saw him lead high-schoolers on trail construction projects at Mount Ranier National Park this past summer. He is very excited to be pursuing his life's calling!
Laura is a North Carolina native. She recently completed a year of service with the Americorps Vista program, working as a program manager for the City of Raleigh's Green Building Training Program. Laura is a graduate of Appalachian State University and received a BA in sustainable development with a concentration in sustainable agriculture. This is her first time in the Grand Canyon and she is very excited with the prospect of seeing the canyon blanketed in snow.
Greetings. My name is Molly, and I am an Indiana native who has an affinity for Arizona deserts and SCA crews. This is my second season with the SCA Native Plant Corps. I studied Ecology at Purdue University and hope to continue to learn about people and their relationship with our surrounding flora.
The aim of this SCA NPC crew is to assist the vegetation office at the Grand Canyon National Park with site rehabilitation near the most visited overlook in the park: the Visitor Center at Mather Point. This area is currently in Phase II of a construction project aimed at enhancing the visitor experience and decreasing disturbances from visitor traffic. Our role is to restore old road scars and vegetation islands to Pinyon-Juniper woodland habitat. Our duties include: planting native plants; watering our plantings; invasive removal; plant salvage; seed and duff collection.
The beauty and magnificence of the canyon are a constant presence in our day to day lives. Everyday we are surrounded by inquisitive visitors and the bustle of the 2nd most visited park in the United States. If it ever gets to be too much noise, all you have to do is drop below the rim and you are in the backcountry.
Thank You to all the volunteers and our Partners for making this possible.
Christine is from Jacksonville, FL where she recently completed an SCA internship in which she helped to protect a population of vulnerable beach dependant birds. She is a recent graduate from New College in Sarasota, FL where she majored in environmental studies. She wrote her senior thesis on the American Lawn, examining America's strange obsession with growing perfect expanses of non-native grasses in all corners of the country. She is excited to be in the Grand Canyon, Where there aren't any lawns, and she gets to be surrounded by distant beauty.