And it comes to an end…

Mianna Maestas:
Time is going by far too fast!

I live such a chaotic life that it doesn’t feel as though the festival was already a week ago!

Considering that our office will be moving to Monte Vista, the last two weeks of my journey will be spent helping pack up and getting the show on the road.

This week I spent my time cleaning things up from the festival and getting things organized so that everything is easier to find for next year. I also started a binder for the interns next year that give directions on games we used for outreach, our protocol, and other odds and ends that they may need. I know I will be around next year to help them out.

I am sad that Deisy’s time is over and that I have no one to pick on, laugh at, or spend time with. I am happy to see her be successful in Denver, but there are days that I just miss her presence.

I am not sure I like that summer is over because school is in full swing and I hardly get to see or spend time with my buddies from work. It makes me sad, yet excited because I know that I have the privilege to spend another summer with them and have even more good times together!

Until next time…..

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Alamosa’s First Shorebird Festival

Mianna Maestas-
WE DID IT!!

I am proud to say that September 13, 2014 marks the first ever shorebird festival in Alamosa Colorado. All of the hard work that Deisy and I performed on top of all of our day to day tasks has finally paid off. It was great to see all the families out having a great time and participating in all of the events. It was such a treat to see all the smiling faces as the kids were able to participate in STEM programs such as solar car races, estimation games, and making bird feeders and paper owls. I think it helped a lot with the fact that they could win all kinds of cool prizes. We were able to give them all tattoos, stickers, bubbles, duck lip whistles, bird whistles, butterfly seed growers, and so much more!

I first want to say thank you to all the volunteers, participants, donors, and all that believed in us.  I also want to thank my bosses, Jill and Sue, for giving us the opportunity to get out there and do it no matter what the outcome may be, and I also want to thank all those that came to see what was going on, and I have so many ideas for next year. It would have not been possible without all the support.

We raised a total of 2,800 dollars! The entire festival paid for itself! Prizes included! Our families took home prices such as wolf creek ski resort passes, 3 month passes to Hooper pool, individual passes to Hooper pool, Gift certificates to Kristi Mountain sports and El Vallecito, and visa gift cards starting at 50 dollars. All and all the event was amazing and I am excited to see what it can become I am proud to say, WE DID IT!! We created our first festival! It took a lot of hard work but that hard work was worth every second just to see families coming together to enjoy time learning and competing.

As time unfolds into good-byes

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!!!

Rubber Duck in the Pond

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!

Family Feathers Community Outreach

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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.