A Life-Changing Summer Living & Working in a Desert Wilderness
ABOVE: Jay Fennell checks out the view on an off-day hike during his summer living and working in the Mojave with SCA’s Desert Restoration Corps.
by Desert Restoration Corps Member Jay Fennell
I spent the summer of 2015 living and working in the heart of the Mojave, tackling critical conservation projects with the Student Conservation Association’s Desert Restoration Corps (DRC). I’d never really been to a desert before, let alone lived in one. In doing so I developed an intimate understanding of this harsh, vibrant ecosystem that can only come from living within it, existing according to its vicissitudes.
To those who haven’t experienced it, it’s hard to communicate how truly epic a summer with the DRC can be. Suﬃce it to say, my mettle has been tested. I now know I’m capable of working harder and longer than I ever thought possible, and in tougher conditions than I even knew existed. I was already an outdoor person, but now I’m more in awe of nature than ever before, and hungrier to spend time in those vast swaths of the Earth where human inﬂuence is barely detectable.
Hopefully these photos and captions will give you some idea of what I mean…
Some days we helped protect the desert by simply exploring it! Summit logs kept in weatherproof boxes on popular peaks provide land management agencies with valuable data on visitor activity throughout the years. So take the day to hike up a volcano and leave your name in the register!
BELOW: Going beyond your comfort zone is seldom an easy task; however with the support of your crew and an environment that encourages self-discovery, you will be well equipped to meet and exceed any challenge that will arise.