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
Hitch 1 
The first hitch went well as all the crew members were excited to get into the field and experience the work that they’d be engaged in over the next nine months. The more intangible aspects of the program and the conservation methods that were difficult to define theoretically were clarified by the group getting out and doing them. Vertical mulching, that ever-elusive restoration technique of taking dead plant matter and replanting it to resemble a living or, at least, recently dead plant, became second nature and even drew the crew into an aesthetic mindset as they tried to perfect their “bouquets” of vegetation. Fencing, particularly the taking down of fencing, became second nature to the crew, and after removing almost one mile of fence in less than three days, it became evident how substantial an impact a small group of people could make working together.
As the seasons transitioned from summer to fall, a change that seemed to happen over the course of the first hitch, a change amplified by living in and with the elements, the crew was given a great opportunity to experience the benefits of a well run camp. After being caught in a hail storm and returning to camp to find many personal items drenched by the downpour, it became clear that a better system of campsite management was needed if everyone was going to live comfortably in the outdoors. Personal tents were erected and improved upon, sleeping bags were protected by any means necessary and backpacks were stowed with great care. The crew became aware of their living conditions and environment in a new way and were able to become truly prepared for the outdoors, a skill that will become increasingly important as the temperatures drop and winter conditions set in and everyone gravitates more and more toward the yellow glow of the white tent lit by gas lanterns and warmed by the stove.
The second hitch will be a great test of the crews newly gained abilities as some large scale projects are expected to be started, including restoration of a major and established road and a substantial fence removal far up in a canyon, but even as the projects gain in scope, the crew gains in motivation and involvement. Perhaps without consciously realizing it, the crew members have thrown everything they have into what they’re doing, a sure sign that they all understand they are working for something greater than single person and that they plan on doing the best they can to succeed.
The crew arrived on September 8th and drove to the Playful Meadows “homestead” through a light rain and low clouds, creating some confusion as to what exactly living and working in a desert meant. The unusual weather did nothing to discourage the crew from immediately becoming engaged in the project and the team. Everyone was eager to learn about each other and the coming months that, up until this point, had been nothing more than distant descriptions on websites and emails.
The first five days were spent introducing the crew to the kinds of situations they would or could encounter over their term with the SCA. These included scenarios dealing with safety, responsibility, tool use and environmental ethics. The first two of these days were in the program house, where group introductions were made, goals were discussed, contracts were written and short trips were taken from the suburban landscape into the nearby desert to discuss and poke at cholla.
Then things started to get interesting as the crew headed up into the Jemez Mountains, where the narrow and winding roads took them through tribal lands and red sandstone canyons until they reached their campground at 8,200 feet on the edge of an ancient caldera. The group learned how to set up camp and what the expectations were for living in the wilderness. It was good practice for erecting the new and massive white tent that will serve as the cooking and community space, basically the shelter that will be the primary home of everyone on the crew over the next nine months. When the sun went down, everyone retreated to their sleeping bags, which let them stay warm on the cold nights at altitude and look up at the brilliant stars through hundred-foot-tall ponderosa pines.
After everyone was acquainted with camp life and had had a chance to practice backing up a trailer hitched to the work truck, a task that is always a counterintuitive but enjoyable challenge, the crew had to suffer through the arduous task of looking for some natural hot springs along a Forest Service road. When the hot springs were found, the crew acted with duty and resolve as they coped with the difficulties of sitting in steaming water and taking in the view over a grassy valley.
Upon returning to the program house, the crew met some new visitors to New Mexico, including project leaders from California and the Wilderness First Responder instructor, Darcy, who would lead the group in medical training over the next nine days. It was a great experience to build confidence with backcountry skills as everyone learned important first aid techniques, such as how to help a hypothermia victim get warm or how to make a bandage out of medical tape and a latex glove. As medical scenarios took the crew away from the house and into the sandy washes and juniper bushes of the desert, the excitement to get into the field increased. After the five-day break at the end of the training, everyone will get a chance to do just that.
Alana Reynolds 
Back in 1984 some little adventure bug must have made its way into the room as I was born in Marquette, MI. My family then moved to Western MA where my little brother joined us, but the bug stuck with me. My parents are teachers and so summers were always filled with work and then adventure. As soon as my brother and I could be expected to walk 5 miles without keeling over we began doing family backpacking trips.
I loved these trips and as I got older, sought out my own. I went to Alaska and Washington with SCA in high school, to France as a nanny right out of high school, back to Europe for two semesters in college, down to Ecuador as an English teacher and off to Australia and New Zealand.
Most recently, after replenishing my mind and wallet in Western MA for a few months, that little bug weaseled its way back in and decided it was time to mix my love of the outdoors and good physical work with a new adventure out to the Southwest. Growing up in a family where camping was viewed as the cat’s pajama’s I’m looking forward to spending my days working and my evenings swapping stories with other crew members, eating food that always tastes better than expected and playing cards (maybe!).
Dawn Scheckman 
Dawn Scheckman grew up in tanning salon/ suburbia, USA also known as Long Island, New York. Day trips to state park land in New Paltz, a local nature preserve, and annual canoe trips down the Delaware River helped her keep her sanity. When she was fifteen she went to Colorado to live with her father who had moved to Steamboat Springs, CO. Colorado taught her a great deal more about the outdoors and instilled in her the importance of conservation. They say that the story of the West is really a story about water politics, and they're right. Dawn is a recent graduate of Hampshire College, Amherst, MA. She started her education studying agriculture and plant biology; however, she switched gears to learn more about race, class, and gender issues. After allowing her muscles to atrophy behind a desk for four years she is looking to make a new start for herself and find a "career" that is inspiring and well rounded. Also, being in the South West for ten months sounds like an awesome adventure. Dawn is excited to get her butt kicked by some good ol' hard work and to meet the crew!
Edwin Schmidt 
Hi my name is Edwin Michael Schmidt, but my friends call me Michael. I was born in 1991 in Fairfax hospital, which is right outside of Washington D.C and have lived in Arlington Virginia my whole life. Even though I have lived 5 minutes away from the nation’s capital, I have always loved the outdoors and love to just get away from it all and go on a hike.
I was in the Boy Scouts throughout middle school and high school and it took me on countless adventures into the wilderness. The most memorable was a hiking trip to Philmont Ranch in New Mexico, which is around where we will be staying for the first part of our trip, but it was a 2 week hiking trip in the backcountry and I just fell in love with the landscape.
Other than hiking I love skiing and really enjoy going out into the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains and find it really peaceful to ski down the side of a mountain. I am taking a year off from school, but I previously went to college for one year at Western State which is in Gunnison Colorado, Gunnison is high up in the Rocky Mountains and is one of the most popular outdoor destinations in the Sates and I did a lot of hiking while I was at school. I played Football at Western State but at the end of the year decided that I didn’t want to continue my football career, so this will be the first fall, in I don’t know how long, that I am not going to be playing football.
I understand that I am going to be the youngest member of the group but I don’t think that will hold me back at all and I can’t wait to get out there and meet you all.
Samantha Garlejo 
I'm Samantha, I graced this Earth in 1988 in San Jose, California; when I was about 13, we moved to Folsom, California. I just graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Environmental Studies/Biology. I'm the first person on my dad's side of the family to ever earn a degree and I'm pretty darn proud of it! I just went on my first backpacking trip on part of the PCT and loved it; I hope to go on many more camp and backpack trips while working in such pretty places!
Some other things I like are dance, pilates, swimming, biking, running (I do triathlons), art, photography, archie comics, learning songs on my uke, and puppies and kittens; when I'm ready, I plan on getting two dogs and naming them Meela and Knight.
I find the Western Fence Lizard and its ability to disable Lyme disease proteins completely fascinating and want to go back to grad school to study it, but, there are so many other interesting things the world has to offer! Also want to join the Peace Corps and do some traveling; hopefully by then, I'll truly know what captivates me.
With a strong background as a pastry chef, a weak background with spelling and a desire to innovate baking techniques that would turn leftover cakes into sellable products, I joined the Desert Restoration Corps with enthusiasm and drive. Moments later I was crushed by the apparent mistake I made. If the DRC wasn’t such an awesome program, I would have returned home disgraced and diminished. As it turned out, I began to enjoy the desert, see the potential of guarding it against human interference and hoping to work with future generations of corps members to continue what I now believe to be the DRC’s objective: the interrelated transformation of the self and the environment to create a more sustainable world. If you’re joining my crew, I welcome you to a life-changing experience in a beautiful land. If you’re not on my team, I encourage you to come out and see what we’re doing. Maybe you’ll take a liking to our unique lifestyle. If not, at least you’ll get to try my award winning profiteroles.