Week 4 Reflections from Cristina Molina of BECY Nogales
Camping is one of those activities that has the potential to turn from a positive experience to a negative experience fairly easily. Thankfully for me, my BECY camping experience was a positive one filled with learning opportunities and great memories with a group of new friends.
The week of June 25th was a highly anticipated one for the BECY Nogales group. The weeks prior were spent planning meals and cooking teams, packing lists, traveling buddies, and learning as much as we could from the T4 ranch worksite. Since we weren’t sure what to expect from the 47 ranch, we prepared by learning about a number of different rock structure options that can be used in various types of watershed restoration.
Finally the week of camping arrived! We all packed up our cars, packed up ourselves, and hit the road! Our drive started in Nogales, turned into a beautiful scenic route and ended in McNeill, Arizona. Before going to set up camp, the crew stopped at the 47 ranch to scope out the site and meet the ranch owners.
We met Dennis, a rancher with some serious beard game, who was overjoyed to have another BECY crew to help his ranch prosper. We learned that Dennis raises a special African breed of cattle that provides for a delicious cut of beef. These cows need special care and more importantly, a place to graze. The problem 47 ranch suffers from is erosion caused by overgrazing. Overgrazed areas lack vital plant life that holds sediment in place. The weak earth is then more susceptible to devastating erosion.
After that we set up camp at White Water Draw and prepared for a week of hard work. We got up early, worked into the afternoon in some pretty intense weather, and really felt the effects of our efforts. The area didn’t immediately look a million times better but it did look a million times more promising. We felt that we had ensured the ranch a more prosperous future and that we became a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Camping wasn’t easy. From the showering in trees, pitching tents on the dry, cracked earth of White Water Draw, extreme weather, and worrying about whether Mexico was going to qualify for the World Cup, our struggles seemed endless. However we were able to overcome them and become closer as a crew and as friends. The most important takeaway from this experience, to me, was the incredible bond I was able to create with my co-interns. It makes the work we did so much more meaningful.