By: Arriana Ochoa-Tovar, BECY participant
Monday morning week five started with a gorgeous morning in the Wildlife Corridor. The BECY Patagonia crew met with Ron at the main entrance to get some background info on the area being worked on. Important things that stuck out to me where that the Arizona Game and Fish says the area is the most important wildlife corridor to a number of species including jaguars, over 10 million dollars has been put into the property, and it's also what links Mexico to the Sky Islands. (To know more about the Wildlife Corridor visit that section of the website.) After talking and walking with Ron, the group started work on staged rock for new erosion control structures and repairs on past structures. The work day went well despite missing a few crew members and feeling a bit weighed down by the weekend.
Tuesday's writing workshop with creative writing students from the University of Arizona with the crew looking forward to sleeping in and getting to wear 'normal' clothes, Tuesday seemed promising. Walking into the conference room that morning, I didn't know what to expect. I wasn't sure how serious the group would take the writing workshop. I was very surprised and impressed at the vulnerability and honesty of the group in their writing.
We wrote about childhood memories. BECY, wrote a poem as a group, and learned new ways to get creative juices flowing in the mind. The leader of the workshop, Logan, facilitates youth slam poetry and other writing programs, so he was a natural leading the group and encourage raw creativity. Tuesday was definitely a bonding moment for the group, full of emotion and acceptance of one another.
Wednesday at Deep Dirt Farm at the Deep Dirt Institute are always very impactful for the group. Kate gives us so much information to soak in and take away with us. To start the day, she shows us around. Intern McKenzie shows the group how to use the composting toilet and then we get to work.
We're digging holes for railroad tie posts for a fence and gate around an area in the institute. We start the work day learning how to use an auger; it was a fun time for all of us.
Then comes the digging contest! We need to dig holes 30 inches deep for the railroad tie posts. The group has a hard time reaching that depth, so we soak the holes dug and allow them to percolate while a rock edge is built onto the side of a path. Kate decides the project will be finished by Field School students later this summer and our work for the day is done.
At the end of each day Kate asks the group what they took away from the day, and what they plan to put into action. It was inspiring to hear what everyone said. All learned to be more conscious of everything they're consuming. Kate's projects are expanding!! (To learn more, visit the Deep Dirt Institute.) It's incredibly inspiring and an honor to get to come back year after year.
Thursday-July 4th, Day off.
Friday's Workday Friday started in the area of the Wildlife Corridor Ron named BECY Gulch. We quickly analyzed the area and resources available, and got straight to work. Three erosion control structures were completed. Later in the day, before lunch, we were asked to locate and analyze three different sections of BECY Gulch and report back to Ron. He needed to know how much rock would be needed, what kind of erosion control structures would be made in what areas, and the time it would take to complete all necessary work on the areas.
We were invited back to Ron's residence for a lovely lunch and we gave our reports on BECY Gulch for future work references. It was an amazing learning experience for the entire group. We were able to show Ron our abilities to read the land, which can be the hardest part of restoration work. The work week was extremely successful, rewarding, and education filled.
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