Hitch 4 – See you later Alligator!


The spring survey season has been great. The Waco team has had the pleasure and opportunity to work with some amazing organizations that share in SCA’s passion and vision for conservation. A few of them made lasting impressions during the season; here are two that stood out.  Jay, a Habitat for humanity staff member. He loved talking about how he got involved with working for Waco Habitat for Humanity; we enjoyed his sense of humor and the different stuff he had to talk about. Later on the team visited the Waco lakes Wetlands, where we met the one and only Nora Schell. She knows a lot about the Waco Lake wetlands plus, she is an experience Park Ranger.  Nora was a great person to work with for conservation projects. If you happen to be in Texas this summer you should definitely check out the Waco lake wetlands and volunteer at Habitat for Humanity.


04/29-05/01 Teaching Annie to Swim

This week the team enjoyed a few days off. Stacy and Josh taught Annie how to swim. She learned proper swimming and breathing techniques for swimming on top of the water and she learned how to back stroke and tread water. This activity was super fun for the entire team, plus Annie turned out to be a good swimmer.


05/02-05/03 Conservation Day

Today the team took a trip to Austin, Texas to complete Stacy’s last conservation project. The members participated in an all-day kayak training course with Kim Sorensen, Guide and Field Educator of The Expedition School. The trip was just what the doctor ordered for our hard working team. We learned to kayak up and down the San Marcos River! Kayaking was a first for some of the team members, so we started with a few training lessons before getting into the water. We received an introductory paddle lesson. The paddling techniques were really cool and could even save your life, if performed correctly during a bad situation. During our stay in Austin, we also visited the Texas State History Museum. The museum was full of cool displays and facts about the different people who, helped to shape the state of Texas for us today. After the team explored the museum we headed to San Antonio, were we did some site seeing on the River Walk and took pictures of the Alamo. Austin and San Antonio are great places to plan for conservation projects and the team enjoyed touring the city.


05/04-05/09 Survey

This week Annie and Stacy took the lead on writing weekly hitch reports, ERPs and JHAs for conservation projects.  As the end of the week got closer Stacy took time out for WFR training while Josh and Annie spent a couple more days completed surveys. Annie spent her last surveying week at Belton and still-house Hollow Lake, while Josh interviewed visitors at Waco and Belton Lake for the last time.


05/10 conservation Day

The last conservation day of the spring season was spent learning about food conservation. Annie taught a lesson on food conservation and its importance to SCA. The members learned about preparing food and food hygiene. They received handouts and worksheets to help along with the lesson. After explaining and discussing the lesson on food conservation each member participated in a cooking activity, they made sweet potato pies using a family recipe that Annie provided. The pies were really tasty and the team did a great job.

Lastly, the trash pickup results are in and we have a winner! Congratulations to Leah of ACE VUS Atlanta! Leah cleaned up 19 pounds of trash and 32 pounds of recycling from her survey sites, winning the cleanup competition. Michael and Clayton of Atlanta also put up impressive numbers, helping Atlanta also take the team competition beating out Nashville and Waco. Thank you to all team members for participating and helping the spring 2013 ACE VUS keep up over 100 pounds of trash out of Army Corps lakes! Way to go Leah, Michael, and Clayton for being the trashiest team around!

The spring season has taught us a lot about leadership.Through the leadership opportunities and conservation projects, we were enabled to develop in our comfort in leading each other. We as individuals hope to learn and grow more as we take on new leadership roles this summer.  Stacy will be continuing her season here in Waco, Texas. She will have all new team members to explore Texas with. Josh will be heading back to Tulsa, Oklahoma with his Team of newbies, and Annie will be leading a National Crew in California at Yosemite National Park.

UPDATE: Josh’s trash finally got picked up! Josh spent a day picking up some larger items at one of his sites (with the help of one Mr. Alex Olsen), including a couch, a love seat, box springs for a bed, 12 tires, mysteriously empty suitcases, fencing, boat parts, a fertilizer, and bags full of bottles, cans, and other roadside trash. Josh’s totals did not count at the time of the initial announcement because the trash, although reported, was too much to remove alone and had not yet been picked up by park staff. Due to not wanting to take away Leah’s hard earned title, or leave Josh’s hard work unrecognized, these two may need to settle who the trashiest person is once and for all at summer training!