My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The YCC Meets Adopt-a -Tree

This past week, I got to work with the  kids that are in Anahuac's Youth Conservation Corp (YCC).  This is a program, sponsored by the Fish and Wildlife Service that lets young people apply for a summer job, to learn about conservation work opportunities and  help the refuges catch up on various jobs, while getting paid the  minimum wage. The kids are picked randomly, from the pool that applied.

Our job was to put out mulch on as many trees as we could and hopefully remove the ugly pile from the roadside. We also had dirt to move to fix some of our trees that were getting roots above the ground. And there were other gardening chores waiting in the wings so I knew we could keep ourselves busy. I was supposed to have them two full days but only had them for one and a half hours the first day.  They went to a special workshop the rest of the day.

Then Friday, we had to do our gardening work and also haul trash.  We started out fast and cleared off the grass that was growing across most of the mulch pile and then started loading buckets and wheelbarrows.  I hauled the buckets out to furthest trees with the Kawasaki mule while the guys loaded and hauled wheelbarrows to the nearest trees.  We cleared away the weeds and then added compost. By twelve-thirty, we had run out of mulch, so we filled up pots with dirt from the soil pile.  Later, I'll haul water and pot up frog-fruit so we can have more to put in other places, such as along a new trail and around some of our trees to help hold the soil and keep other weeds from growing there.

Clearing weeds from the compost pile
Adding compost to trees

Water break

Filling pots

Pots ready for cuttings
We saved the trash for last because we got to ride around in an air-conditioned truck for most of the time as we did our route and looked for trash along the road, on our way to empty the trash cans. We hardly felt the ninty-two degree heat in our short forays out of the truck. We dropped the trash off at the dump on the way back to headquarters. I think we all had fun and the trees and I really appreciated the mulch.  This will keep their roots cooler and help prevent evaporation of the precious water I am hauling to them at the rate of several hundred gallons each week.

This job is easier for two

It can be done by one -  but I helped after I took this picture
Many of the large herd of cows were interested in our trash pickup. We got to be envious of a few fishermen.

Part of a large heard of cows


 I think I'll have the services of another young man who wants to volunteer to help me in the butterfly garden and in maintaining the new trees.  So hopefully, we'll get more mulch in and will finish mulching all the trees. We probably have another two hundred or so to go.  And we'll be starting cuttings to plant in other parts of the refuge.