By ASB Group 2, Final ASB Blog From the Canyon for ASB 2009. See You Next Year!
The SCA crew members crawled out of their tents to greet the cold morning. Some crew members had slept outside last night to stargaze and were eager to share their tales over breakfast. The meal consisted of hot oatmeal and frozen milk, but they were still energized to continue fighting the park’s invasive species.
After breakfast the crew split into two groups. One headed to the Canyon View Information Plaza to continue salvaging native plants while the other team went to Hermit’s Rest and built fences to protect native plants from herbivores, cars, snowplows, visitors, etc. The team enjoyed a delicious lunch, a spectacular view, and the warm sun by the rim. After a tasty lunch, the groups rejoined to help out in the ever expanding nursery. Many plants were salvaged including a giant Banana Yucca that took twelve people to carry!
Once the nursery was filled to the brim with native plants, they convened with the park staff for a closing ceremony. The park staff expressed their gratitude for the crews’ service over the two weeks. The work completed in the past weeks would have taken the park staff 3 months to complete! In order to commemorate the group’s experience at the Canyon, the park staff gave each member of the crew an awesome sticker, which said, “I conquered Grand Canyon’s alien invaders!!” After the ceremony, the crew took a group photo at the nursery, wearing their SCA t-shirts.
For all members of the crew, the past week has been an extraordinarily amazing experience. Six nights and seven days after their original landing in the unique terrain of Arizona, the group had no knowledge of what they were to do in this new environment. Cold and grueling nights came with howling winds, which at times made people question their decisions to even come. Ultimately, however, the group stood together, eating under the same tent and working under the same harsh conditions. Now the crew members sit together, strangers from all corners of the United States turned to life long friends.
This is also the eighteenth entry in our ongoing series, Photograph Fantastique, in which we count down 50 days until the Unofficial Official Start of High Season for conservation programs.