For our Conservation Project on August 16th, we traveled to Radnor Lake on the south side of Nashville. Our fearless crew leader Stephanie was feeling under the weather so she was not able to join us, but luckily our Program Manager Alex Olsen was able to come with us because he was visiting the team during this time. Radnor Lake is an extremely beautiful State Natural Area that covers over 1,200 acres and is home to river otters, beavers, mink, muskrats, bobcats, coyotes, and white tailed deer. While we were there, we only observed a few white tailed deer with their young. Throughout the area there are several miles of well kept trails that are open to the public daily. The reason why there is a lot of wildlife present is because there is not hunting allowed within the park so the animals are safe.
The Rangers that supervised and helped us on our project were Ryan, Jesse, and Sam. Ryan and Jesse were full time rangers at the park while Sam was a seasonal helper that hopes to land a full time position soon. They told us about some of their fun experiences that they have had since working at the park. One of the tragic stories that they told us was about the 2010 floods that washed away over two miles worth of trails and wiped out part of the road that runs within the park. Sam said that it took several months of manual labor to fix the trails in order for visitors to use them again.
Our Conservation Project was to transport large rocks from the access road to a part on one of the trails where a new bridge is being built. The rocks are going to act as an erosion preventer so that the bridge is able to remain sturdy and not be washed away by fast rushing water during heavy rains. The bridge that they previously had in the area was not able to hold a lot of weight and the one they are building now will be able to hold at least twice the weight of the previous one. We were transporting the rocks in wheelbarrows, pushing them a distance of about 200 yards through the park. For the first load we all took a large portion of rocks but we were soon regretting it about 100 yards into the journey. For the trips that followed we cut back on the amount of rocks that we took each time in order to not pass out on the trail.
Once we were finished for the day and arrived home we all crashed hard and did not do much the rest of the day. When we woke up the next morning our bodies were aching with soreness and it was tough just to get out of bed. Overall the conservation project was a great workout and the Rangers really appreciated our help for it would have taken them several weeks to do the work that we did in a few hours.