A guest post by Eliza Perry, one of our Hubbard Fellows:
Fellowship update! I’m behind in my posts so here are some photos of what we’ve been up to the past several weeks.
I think my favorite stewardship activity is fencing. It surprised me a little to realize this, as fencing is not the most exciting thing we do around here unless we do it with a skid loader. It involves walking sometimes several miles pulling insulators off rebar, and getting paid to do it. It also involves teamwork, and I love working with people other than myself. In this photo, Chris Helzer and I watch Nelson struggle with a stubborn, cold fencing machine because we know how to be helpful. (Editor’s note: I was breathing on it to warm it up. It started shortly after this photo was taken, so it obviously worked.)
I hadn’t used the tractor in months, so after I was re-trained, I mowed our Dahms Pivot property for several hours, trying to knock back some of the invasives before we re-seed a big portion of the restoration in the coming years. While I mowed, I saw many small mammals scamper out of my way, one bald eagle, one pheasant, several raptors and other birds I couldn’t identify, and a stunning sunset (below).
The Fellows were recently treated to a tour of the Henry Doorly Zoo with Anne Hubbard and Jessi Krebs, Reptile and Amphibian Curator, who gave us a behind the scenes look into the zoo’s amphibian conservation research efforts. We also got to walk around the world’s largest geodesic dome at sunset. Later in the week, we returned to give a presentation to the high school zoo academy students.
How many TNC employees does it take to get a file cabinet upstairs? This, unfortunately, is the only picture I took during our first week-long visit at the Omaha Field Office, but our week included discussions with each member of staff on various topics including the new Corporate Council, the Global Challenges/Global Solutions conservation strategy, fundraising technique, social media outreach, and post-Fellowship careers. Anne and I “took over” our chapter’s Facebook page for the week, check out the fruits of our labor: www.facebook.com/NatureConservancyNebraska
After our week in Omaha, the Platte River Prairies crew had a chainsaw training field day as we gear up for winter tree removal. We did a little chainsaw work over the summer, but my preference is to do the majority of it while it’s not sweltering hot outside. Anne is learning how to safely limb and buck up a tree under the supervision of two experienced sawyers.
END OF SEED SEASON
Seed harvesting and processing accounted for a sizeable chunk of our stewardship efforts this summer and fall, so this image of all the seeds in storage is exciting.
The Fellows sat down with Chris Helzer, Tyler Janke, and Nelson Winkel to create burn plans for our spring burns. Here, Chris is showing us how wind changes can affect the burn trajectory, and how we need to account for these possibilities in a plan. We worked through one prescribed burn plan as a group so we could see all the components of that process.