And They’re Off

Last week brought the arrival of the crew members. After two trips to Denver International Airport and a number of other arrivals we were able to fit everyone into the Chamberlain House for the week. With so many people living together, it didn’t take long for everyone to get to know each other. Nonetheless, Tuesday’s training started with some icebreakers. After a tournament round of Rock-Paper-Scissors, we moved into knock out rounds of Ninja.

Rawah Crew in a friendly game of Ninja

Rawah Crew in a friendly game of Ninja

Ninja Finals

Ninja Finals

On Wednesday, everyone headed out with Jim Pickering, Historian Laureate of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain Conservancy Board Member, to discover the cultural history that has shaped Rocky Mountain National Park in RMNP: The First 100 Years.

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Training continued into Thursday with First Aid/CPR/AED training for many of the crews members. Those who already had medical training and certifications ventured out to Glacier Basin Campground with Doug Watry, Fire Fuels Specialist at Rocky Mountain National Park, to help the Fire Crew with fuel reduction projects. By the end of the day, Rocky Mountain Conservancy -Conservation Corps Crews consolidated several acres of downed fuels into a few dozen slash piles, ready to be burned next winter.

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Slash Piles

Slash Piles

On of Shadow Mountain Crews' morning slash piles.

On of the Shadow Mountain Crew’s morning slash piles.

Finally, what would be training week without a barbecue to finish it up and send everyone off in good spirits.

Rocky Mountain Conservancy - Conservation Corps 2014

 

After a long week of training days, its time to send the crews out into the field and wish them the best of luck as they start their season! Stay posted to see their work throughout the summer.

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Leader Week

Last week all of the Rocky Mountain Conservancy – Conservation Corps leaders arrived in Estes Park for a week of icebreakers, meetings, and leadership trainings. Each crew’s leader and assistant leader had an opportunity to practice their communication skills with a blindfold tent building ice breaker, got a chance to learn about their season from the USDA Forest Service or National Park Service supervisor, and prepare for crew member arrival. Clint Mitchell, Fort Collins Crew Assistant Leader, recounts the week below:

With wet heavy snow falling just days before arriving in Estes Park, CO, it seemed like summer was nowhere to be found. However, the warm summer sun was just behind a few clouds and would come out more and more as the week went on.

On Wednesday all the crew leaders met at the historic Chamberlain home. From there, we made our way to the Field institute for some ice breakers and to get the season’s gear allocated. With the season’s gear set aside, it became a lot easier to look beyond the snow and see the great season ahead of us.

Connor_Blindfold           Jake_Blindfold

Thursday was a day to have questions answered. After a “riveting” morning of defensive driver training each crew leader and assistant crew leader met with their USDA Forest Service or National Park Service representative. In our meeting, Rebecca and I, found out that we would be working and housed in the town of Fort Collins, rather than Red Feather Lakes, due to some damage to the housing at Dowdy Lake.

Friday morning we were lucky enough to have a warm sunny morning. So we took the opportunity to hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. We made a 6 mile loop on the Cub lake trail, where the 2013 Estes Park Crew repaired a few retaining walls damaged during the Fern Lake Fire the previous year. The trail looked to be in great shape after their work, and the hike gave everyone a good change to get back in the mindset of looking at trail structure. The hike was a great opportunity to get acclimatized and take in some great views before crew members arrive and each crew gets established in their respective work areas. Following the hike, we did some exercises to brush up on our communication skills. Now, we have the weekend to enjoy a little time relaxing in the Chamberlain house before the crew members get settled in for another great week in beautiful Estes Park.

RMC-CC Leaders

Cub Lake Loop CC

‘Tis the Season

Welcome to the Rocky Mountain Conservancy – Conservation Corps Blog!

Dream Lake

With a late season snowfall, some unexpected last minute preparations were required to prepare for leadership week. However, after plowing out the driveways and clearing the snow from the cabins, all is ready for our crew leaders to arrive.

Weather aside, we couldn’t be more excited and ready for the season to begin. We have a big summer ahead of us. As many of you may know, Rocky Mountain Conservancy is fielding two additional crews during the 2014 season to help support the flood recovery efforts in Rocky Mountain National Park and the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forests. One of these crews will supplement our original crew in Rocky Mountain National Park. The second will provide support to in a new neighboring location to Rocky, the Boulder Ranger District of the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forests. With these new crews, we will have thirty-six total conservation corps interns this summer, all of whom will complete 11,520 hours of conservation work, attend multiple field class, and develop skills necessary for life-long careers in natural resource management, while having the time of their life along the way.

This week our schedule is packed with orientation, training exercises, planning meetings with trail supervisors, and a leadership retreat. Check back this week for updates on leadership training and throughout the season for reports on our Conservation Corps’ work and reflections from our interns in the field!

(Photo courtesy of Crystal Brindle. See more at www.inpursuitofthewild.com/)