Well things are moving along here!
A big part of my job here is to assist our environmental educator and we really had a lot of fun this last week. We work closely with a local middle school and here at Desoto we typically host an “outdoor education day” annually for the fifth grade class. The last two years they have not been able to do the event, but we were able to host the event this year and I was very happy to be included! Each class gets to come out for a whole day of outdoor activities, which spans over a week for us here. The kids get to start the day by cooking their own breakfasts over camp grills and then rotate to different stations. The kids get to fish, kayak, canoe, and have a small lesson about aquatic life here. I feel like this is a really great opportunity to introduce the kids to outdoor activities, especially those that don’t readily have access to these activities normally. We teach them how to respect our shared natural spaces, and all about “leave no trace”. They are really receptive and it was really lovely to see them all get involved and be excited. It was a gorgeous week for it, we couldn’t have asked for better weather- we only had to end early one day as some storms rolled in.
The local high school had been caring for our seedlings that we were growing, but since school is now out we picked up all our flats of seedlings and have them back at our facility. A few more weeks of caring for them, before we get to plant them and watch them take off! Some are doing great, some have not come up, and some just didn't make it. That is just the nature of growing things from seed sometimes! I get really excited watching things grow. It is incredibly satisfying to watch plants progress.
At the end of the next month I will get the opportunity to participate in a program called “Nebraska Master Naturalist”. This particular training is a week-long immersive field experience where we learn more about our specific ecosystems. The training is for educators, volunteers, or anyone just looking to be a better steward to our lands. I am excited to get to spend some time in the field- the last couple years of my education we moved almost exclusively online. For some subjects this was actually better for me, but unfortunately my upper level biology courses that would have included labs and field experience were in this part of my education. I can’t help but feel a little bit like I missed out- so I am really looking forward to this experience. I am really grateful that we have opportunities like that out here.
I am really baffled at how time is passing so quickly here, it really feels like not too long ago everything was brown outside. Now everything has completely transformed and is so lush and full. I think it is important to not to wish time away, but I am happy that the seasons changed over pretty quickly for us! Seeing the green and life popping up all around feels so good after winter!
I hope everyone else is enjoying spring as much as I am!
(photo: Most recent photo of our milkweed seeds)
Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service
Location: DeSoto and Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuges