Norming to Performing


Photo: Hiking Big Sycamore Canyon Falls A week can seem like forever yet go by in a flash. We spent our last day(Friday, March 29th) as a group working with native plants, for a change of pace, in the Rancho Sierra Vista, not too far from the Wendy Trail trailhead. To prevent over watering natives planted earlier in March by the first California ASB, we established a simple system. All plants were flagged, and as they were watered, the flags were removed. We started from the top of the hill and worked our way down to finish watering over 1400 plants in just a couple of hours. An estimated time of five days was given if the NPS staff had to do it on their own.

Watering a native plant.

Finishing, we made our way to the Satwiwa Native American Indian Natural Area and lunched outside the visitor’s center. Questions about SCA internship and employment opportunities were asked. Rested and fed, we set off for Big Sycamore Canyon Falls within Point Magu State Park which is part of the Santa Monica Mountain NRA. There wasn’t much water running through the waterfall, so some of our more adventurous folks braved the poison oak and steep slopes to get to the top.

A solid ending to a wonderful week. Rey even had his birthday on Friday, not a bad way to end a spring break in SoCal. Our evening closed with a reflection and a small campfire where some of us stayed up way too late enjoying each others’ company.

Saturday was a busy day of last minute packing for those who weren’t organized the night before, or for those who weren’t leaving for Burbank until 12pm. Seven of us left at 6am for LAX, 13 at 9am for Burbank, and the last lucky nine got to pack up camp. I happened to be one of them, and worked on taking tents down with about half our numbers while the others assisted Haley with the kitchen. We had some serious packers on this crew and the trailer ended up looking tidier than when the staff originally received it.

Goodbyes are never easy, and the aimless walks, meaningful conversations, and spontaneous games among many things will be missed. It’s going to be hard not falling asleep to the eerie howls of coyotes, or a full moon adorning the star speckled sky. Ending community meals leaves a hole in my soul, plus it won’t be easy to return to life without a seemingly endless supply of fancy nut butters from Justin’s. The best part about this experience though is that it allowed people with contrasting backgrounds to get to know one another, to grow an appreciation for the great outdoors, and maybe even convinced a handful or two that the field of conservation is something they want to get more involved in. Making friends with these amazing people has been priceless.

“…it won’t be easy to return to life without a seemingly endless supply of fancy nut butters from Justin’s.”