Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Working with the WCCC and Sage Grouse Habitat Restoration

        Hello, I worked at the BLM as an intern through the Western Colorado Conservation Core (WCCC) all summer. From May until the end of November. It was a long internship in which I learned a lot. One of the many things that I took from this internship, was the chance to learn how to lead a group that struggled with a lack of motivation, lack of respect toward others, lack of purpose in life/themselves, and an overall lack of interest in learning new things.

       Around the beginning of August, I and two fellow workers lead a work crew from the WCCC for two weeks. We worked on closing and revegetating roads around the Signal Peak Area north of Highway 50. The purpose of this project was to lessen the impact that many of these excess roads have because they are fragmenting productive Gunnison Sage Grouse Habitat.
       Throughout my life, I’ve had the chance to be involved in many opportunities that have challenged my leadership abilities. Working with this WCCC crew from Grand Junction really tested those abilities. More than half of the 12 person crew were juvenile delinquents who have been walking in the wrong footsteps for many years. A couple others were adults whom had just been released from being incarcerated. Most of these people were there because they couldn’t be hired anywhere else.
       The work we did was not easy either. We swung picks for the majority part of the day, and the worst part was that they were barely making any money. There was no motive for them to work hard. Which made our job as the ones in charge of this restoration project, much harder. Without motive or the interest to learn, we made it a priority to let them know why we were doing the work we were doing. We needed them to know why it was important, and that they were making a difference. In the end, I think that teaching them about being a good environmental steward, is what motivated them to work harder. They began to take in their surroundings and started caring about the impact that we have had on the lands around us. Working with us gave them a sense of purpose, and they were focused mostly on that, rather than the miniscule amount of money they were making. I hope that we actually had a lasting impact on at least one of the people we worked with because then, he or she will share his knowledge with his friends and family, thus furthering education regarding our home/environment.

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