Over the years I have met some outstanding people and made some unforgettable memories.  A memory from last summer that stands out to me the most is when a SCC youth crew came to the Blanca Wetlands to help eradicate russian olives. This was a multiple day project and the students definitely worked hard. On their last day at Blanca Wetlands we wanted to show them what Macroinvertebrate surveys were, how they’re performed, and teach them about the importance behind the work we do as Wildlife Biological Technicians. After giving the students a quick lesson on what we do, we led them into the pond. They all got royally stuck in the knee high, stinky, gooey mud. They were trying so hard to follow Portland and I out to the waters edge, but they did not know the technique for walking in the mud the way that we did. We were all laughing so hard it was difficult to stand up. We tried helping each other and all ended up falling in the mud. Some of the students were army crawling to get out of the mud! As you can imagine, it was absolutely hilarious watching this! We were all covered head to toe and had to wash off in a fish pond before getting back into the vehicles.
Working with the youth of our community is extremely important to me. I enjoy teaching them new things, working side by side with them, but most importantly I like listening to their stories. We have an amazing group of students here in the San Luis Valley. I have experienced first hand how dedicated they are to their work and their eagerness to learn. I feel the reason, for the moment I described above, standing out to me more than any other day of that summer is because I got to really know the students. I saw how they worked hard each and everyday out in the hot sun. I enjoyed listening to their ideas, dreams, and how enthusiastic they are about their futures. That muddy afternoon was not just about work and learning, but it was also about finding joy in the things that do not go exactly as planned. We wanted to get to the waters edge and take Macro samples, and we thought it would only take a couple of minutes, but instead it turned into an event that highlighted my summer. It was very therapeutic to sit in the mud and laugh with the students after a long, difficult day of work. Memories like this allow me to really enjoy and appreciate the work that I do. Not only do we help our environment, but we have amazing people around us to make that difficult work more enjoyable.

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