Crew leader spotlight
How long have you been with the Corps?
Since February 2016, and before that I was with the Washington Conservation Corps for 2 years based out of Tumwater.
Why did you join the WCCC?
Ummm... To hopefully make a diffeernce and to give back from my years as a crew memeber.
Where was your favorite hitch?
Ruby Horsethief, but I also like the North Rim of The Black Canyon of The Gunnison, but really Ruby Horsthief was awesome.
As a crew leder you see some interesting things. Do you have any good stories about some of the more interesting things that have happened to you or your crew while on hitch?
One of the fun things that happned when we were working in the Black Canyon on the East Portal road we stopped for break and a black bear came trudging down the hillside and was 20 ft from the crew and jumped into the water and swam across the Gunnison. He wasn't very far away from us at all.
Who are some of the project partners you got to work with?
Troy Schnurr and the BLM river rangers, Tim Benson with The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Andrew Breibart with the Gunnison BLM, Sparky Tabor with the Grand Junction BLM, Curecanti National Recreation Area, Tamarisk Coalition, City of Grand Junction, Colorado Conservation Association, Mcinnis Canyons National Conservation Area, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, San Miguel County, Southwest Conservation Corps, Colorado Youth Corps Association, Canyon Country Youth Corps, and Dolores Rivers Restoration Project.
Some of the responsibilities of a crew leader are to educate, teach, and lead the crew. What do you think your crew has learned from you this season?
I think they have stronger plant identification, Leave No Trace skills, situational awareness, and being more professional at the work place. Some learned how to cook, build fires, [and] how to be stronger individuals that can handle inclimate weather. Some learned how to better maintenance saws. They got to learn about the geography of Colorado and their backyarad and community and they probaly know more about tamarisk than they want to.
What has been one of your favorite meals while on hitch?
Black and mac, guaranteed always the best. Mac and cheese with black beans, but the trick is to add extra shredded cheese and hot sauce.
What would you like to say to future CorpsMembers and crew leaders?
To both crew and crew leaders: You get what you put into it; your experience is your own [and] you can treat it as a 7 - 5 job or you can treat it as an learning opportunity.
What has been one of the most enjoyable things about being a crew leader?
Getting to see people that once struggled on a task and then watching their potential grow as they became more confident.
When you finish with the Corps what are your plans?
Hopefully I will be employed at the local ski resort... One season at a time but I hope to stay employed in the local community.
Can you list all the projects you've worked on?
Curecanti National Recreation Area
Dolores River Rstoration Project
Gunnison Sage Grouse Habitat Restoration
Ruby Horsethief section of the Colorado River
Black Canyon of teh Gunnison River fencing and trail work
Wheeler Wildlife Refuge
Blue Heron Park
Palisade Rim Trail
Connected Lakes State Park
Fountains Saw Training
One of my favorite memories of Jenny is when she ended up breaking a large cast iron pan while crushing cans on the river. Jenny had great technique but the wrong tool for the job. Pans are for cooking.... needless to say I think Jenny learned her lesson that day. I was frotunate enough to get some footage of the incident right before it happened.....
Jenny has come a long way from the first days of crew leader trainning where we were both learning how to use GPS units and all the rules and regulations of the WCCC. A once energetic and enthusiastic Crew leader is now still an energetic and enthusiastic crew leader with a wealth of experience and knowledge.