Duke Norton, Patagonia BECY Crew reflects on the importance of perseverance and repetition to restoration work in his last week with the 2018 BECY Program.
For the last week of our BECY experience we worked doing a number of things with a bitter-sweet feeling in us as we reflected on our work with the program. To begin the week we started out working at the Santa Fe Ranch alongside Dean Fish, the Ranch Manager, pulling weeds and building rock structures. This day was memorable for so many reasons: we got to get our hands dirty with the creative writing master’s students from the University of Arizona who joined us in our work, our perception of bees changed from a 'run on sight' to a 'just keep pulling the weeds, they won't hurt you', and we played in the massive sprinkler in the field before meeting the downpour of monsoon.
Next we worked at Francesca Claverie's house building a grey water system water filter, and transplanting plants. The best part about this was that Francesca is just simply someone everybody loves, and her passion for plants is infectious. Working with the nursery plants is always very interesting, knowing that they are native plants, but when you have someone like Francesca there who has what seems like an abundance of information on the plants it puts your excitement in high gear and floors it.
Another day we worked at Dirty Girl Farmette with Summer Lewton, the farm owner and founder. I personally really looked forward to working here because I had worked there three years previously. Before it had been just a tiny sectioned off part of her yard that was much like a regular house garden, and I remember her discussing potentially buying the acreage behind her to expand, and guess what.... she did! Now she is kicking butt, selling produce to whole foods stores in our community and surrounding areas, and empowering youth by giving them days like this to work alongside her and admire her success as a small town farmer. That's most of what I took away from the day, and I think many others did as well.
The last day!!!! The last day was a trip out to Harris Heritage where we worked with Denise Purvis doing... can you guess? That's it! Pulling more weeds! In all seriousness, as redundant as much of our work seems it's insanely rewarding at the end of the day. Regardless of your attention span the work that you may feel you are doing over and over again is something that is valid, and necessary. It's pretty gratifying to know that you, some group of kids, are working in the heat of an Arizona summer, doing the same thing almost every day because it takes a whole lot of doing the same thing to fix what it is you're trying to restore. Not many can say that their perseverance was for more than themselves, and essentially that is what it is we do in BECY. We work day-to-day getting caked with dust, sun, and bees to make a better environment for more than just ourselves. What I'm really getting at here is that when we pulled up to the farm just to start pulling some more weeds you better believe we put on our music full blast and our hoes in those roots. What better way to remember the program then to finish it off with all those things that resonate like weeding, some jams, and the good ol' sun.