This is my farewell blog.
Today marks my last day for EFTA. Today was very much a tear jerker because it was the last day that I would trample the floor of the La Jara office of BLM. Today was the last day that I got to pick on all my forest friends and the day I turned in all my keys. It jerked at my heart as I said my goodbyes, but felt good to know that I met so many amazing people along the journey.
I would like to give a huge thank you to the two most wonderful ladies I know! Jill and Sue have moved mountains in my life. They are true role models and for the first time ever, because of them, I was able to witness my dream job, which is doing what they do every single day of their lives. It is miraculous to see two women that love their job still today as they did 30 years ago. I have no idea how they do all that they do but somehow it all gets done and they give it 110%. It is because of them that my summer was all that it was. It is because of them that I was able to enjoy my time and learn so much in just 6 months. It is truly because of them that I work harder and harder every day to become a better person than I was yesterday. Any time we get together there’s not only a list of things to get done, but honestly deep thoughts, venting sessions, and uncontrollable laughter. These women deserve the best boss award on top of the best mentor award. They always know what to say and always have the right time to say it. The three of us have so much in common that it’s to see us work all so well together. I have the same stubborn attitude as Jill and the same positive attitude as Sue. Somehow they have meshed our crazy team into a phenomenal group to work with that holds great diversity and strength. I am more than proud to say that I will be part of this team again next year and I am so excited to see what they have in store for us. It has been such a pleasure!
Not only has it been a pleasure working with them but also with Deisy of course, Portland DUH, Stefan, Lisa, Angelica, and all the other wonderful people that I was able to spend time with this summer. I also would like to say it was a pleasure being able to debrief about my weeks and share it with all you readers out there. Thank you for all the listening (or reading I should say) that you have done, all the support that was given, and most importantly the motivation to continue on my journey.
Well here we go! The hectic week I have been anticipating for months now is finally over! I finished my first week of college. YAY ME! I not only realize that I am a full time student, full time EFTA employee, but also an employee at the college student life center. I don’t really know when I truly get to sleep but somehow I manage to get everything done and still have time to plan for the festival and some time for family too.
This week our shorebird surveys ended =( Which is sad but, it means that winter is that much closer. I love winter! It also means that the festival is only two weeks away. YIKES!! I am not sure I am ready, but I am excited to see what the turn out will be. We have all of our ducks in a row and are now just waiting for the day. I also received good news that I will have a job with Jill and Sue again next year which is super exciting because I absolutely love working for them. However, they have exposed me to sooooo many experiences and opportunities in the science field that I now ponder my choice in being a major for agricultural business. I must say, out of everything I have encountered in this job the best part has been the experience and memories that have traveled the path with me. There is nothing in this world that can compare to the bonding moments that “Team Bug” has.
Help me count down the weeks until our festival is finally here! This past weekend marks 1 week. WOOOOOHOOOO!!!
After 44 long hours I now know that my job is such a privilege. I was able to participate in duck banding. I can truly say it was the greatest thing I have done all summer. We got to not only capture the ducks but we were also able to hold them and band them. The bands are for tracking the birds. I thought it would be simple, but venting the duck (determining the sex) is much harder than I thought. Once the sex of the duck is determined, next is to identify if it is a juvenile or an adult. Both of these are factored into what size of band is used for the duck. The band must be able to grow with the bird and keep it from being restricted. I not only learned about banding but also different methods of holding the squirmy little things. It was a lot of fun and excitement to say the least.
We also had the privilege of having Cara down for some shorebird fun. It was such a great week to have her because not only was she able to help with duck banding but we also did a mock macro-invertebrate survey, shorebird survey, festival planning, and an amphibian survey. All the fun stuff that we do in a summer she was able to get sight of in a weeks time.
My life is starting to pick up pace. I will be a full time student, full time EFTA employee, and a part-time student life employee, as well as a full time event planner until September 13th. I am well aware that I am beyond crazy but the workload gets more exciting with every day that passes.
Life is never complete unless I have a Crazy Deisy May story. Here it goes! I have decided she has no coordination. This week she managed to stretch her legs far enough apart that she lost her balance while trying to shuffle her way through a pond to a duck trap. So, she lost her balance and fell not only once but three times. Her tan pants became a dark shade of gray from the soaking of water and muck. It is definitely apparent that her and I have become beyond close because instead of helping her and risking falling in myself I laughed and waited for her to get up and struggle her way out of it. It may be mean of me, I know, but she was able to finally get enough gusto to get unstuck and dry off somewhat and got back to the job. Love that girl!
Our festival is sneaking up on us. It is only a month away! That seems far but in reality it’s not far at all. Donations, networking, and getting the word out have consumed a great amount of my time this week.
I was given the opportunity to go out with Portland and do water quality testing on the wells at the wetlands. I was sure it was going to be hard but after the first one I do not think it is an intimidating task. Basically the probe goes into the well or overflowing bucket, it connects to a machine that tells what the pH balance is and every other little detail the BOR wants from the sample. This also includes the metals in the water. Along with the Probe reading there are water samples to take, 4 of them at each well to be exact. That was my job and Portland handled the very expensive probe. We had a lot of fun but finding the wells was a challenge. Some are running and others are bone dry. We were unable to locate some of the wells shown on the map. We also were able to find a few that were none existent on the map. After we finished the ten wells for the day we headed back to the BOR to take the samples into the lab. It’s a magnificent sight to see. There are so many different processes they put the water through to test it. I know it would be such a fun, yet hard job to do. This week was pretty slow moving considering it was mobile work week for our BLM crew however, I know next week we will be back up and running around like chickens without their heads.
As a kid I never spent a single moment awake indoors. I was always outside playing, working in the field, and spending as much time in the sun as possible. There was never a day that I was burned from the sun; instead I roasted like a hot dog. I always turned a golden brown. I suppose with age, I lost that awesomeness because for the first time ever I became a golden brown under the layer of fire truck red. I fried! I have never known the feeling of a true sunburn until now…boy does it sting!
Post hole digger, shovel, pick, hammer, nails, posts, and poles: I volunteered to spend my week building fence on the Rio Grande with Stefan, Seth, Portland, and the SCC crew. Given that I have lived on the ranch my whole life I know the ropes to building a sturdy fence. That is until we are next to a river and each hole dug is collapsed with rock and water. After a day of one step forward two steps back, Paul (our boss) decided he could help out by bringing an auger. That sure did help because by Wednesday we were nearly done with the whole three acres of land. Although our days always started early and ended really late, the payoff was amazing. To look at that fence and know that it was because of our hard work the willows could now grow made me feel fantastic. There were a lot of memories made along the way as well.
Wilson’s phalaropes and American Avocets have come in by the hundreds. Shorebird surveys have been a blast because every time we are out, the numbers continue to grow, as does the wonderful mud. The festival is coming together fairly well. We are still figuring out some donations and trying to rake the money in so we can pay for food and prizes but other than that all is set in stone. Until next time I will be bathing in Aloe and taking Advil in hopes to cure this red sting.