Here at the Catskill Conservation Corps, we’ve been working hard for months, planning and organizing events, work trips, projects, and workshops, and we’ve been learning a lot as we forge ahead. Here are a few of the lessons we’ve been handed by Mother Nature.
Lesson 1: be flexible! We used expert sources to schedule our knotweed event, discussing when the knotweed would most likely be at the ideal height with a number of experienced folks. But the deep snow and lingering cold meant that the knotweed didn’t even emerge until much later than expected, and forced us to reschedule the work trip. Let’s face it – we couldn’t throw that particular party if the guest of honor wasn’t going to make it!
We also scheduled a project at the summit of Huntersfield Mountain for mid-April, seeking to get a jump on the work season and bang that project out before heat and bugs would make the work more difficult. Again, the deep snow skunked us and we had to reschedule that trip as well.
Another important part of the planning process includes site visits to trails and assessment by CCC and DEC staff to determine specific work plans. The fires this spring on SW Hunter Mountain and down in the Shawangunks meant that DEC staff were unavailable for some of those assessment trips and now they too will have to be rescheduled.
Lesson 2: build in “slush” time! The rescheduling of the knotweed event meant we needed to move other work trips. We had scheduled every weekend for almost a month straight and when a reschedule date was needed things were too tight. Through some wonderful flexibility on the part of DEC staff (they seem to have lesson 1 down pat!) we’ve been able to get everything rescheduled. Picture that house of cards – it all tumbled down a couple of times but we’ve got it neatly restacked! For the future, we do plan to schedule a little bit less tightly so that we can shuffle things around with greater ease. Because if there’s one thing we can predict, it’s that we’ll need to stay flexible!
Lesson 3: variety is the spice of life! While there are many more potential projects than we will be able to complete this work season, providing a great “menu” of volunteer options is important to us. To that end, we’re mixing it up! We are offering events in different geographic areas of the Catskills, half day events and full day events, weekday events and weekend trips, trail work, lean to work, at least one construction project, litter picking… a really wide variety of work projects so that there will definitely be something for everyone!
What is scheduled so far?
May 16: hand pulling knotweed at Russell Brook falls
May 17: moving the privy at the Mink Hollow lean to
May 21: Sprucing up the Spruceton Trail
May 30: staining the Huntersfield lean to
June 13 – 14: reroofing the Devil’s Acre Lean to
June 15: Half a dozen for half a day – trail project at Kaaterskill Falls
June 20: Learn how to maintain trails at Intro to Trail Maintenance
June 21: Pick Up Litter with Dad! Father’s Day litterpicking event at Overlook Mountain
More work trips, trail building, trainings and litter pick-ups will be scheduled but as we have learned – be ready to be flexible as weather or other surprises may force us to shuffle that house of cards one more time!