This week marks the first hands-on training event for the 2013 crew leaders. Camp and
work was based out of Corn Creek at Desert National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) just north of Las
Vegas. Trainees were tasked with the removal of non-native plants, such as Russian olive.
Russian olive is a very thorny tree, and at times seems to fight back. A combination of excellent
teachers such a Nick Brancato, Ray Curry, and Pete Dunham mixed with an awesome ratio of
new sawyer to experienced sawyer ratio, allowing for lots of education on proper use, technique,
maintenance, and trouble shooting from our chainsaws.
Some felling demonstrations took place, as well. The new sawyers got to experience their
first week on a saw; bucking and limbing trees to clear an area for ecological restoration.
Recently, an ADA trail was installed at Desert NWR to cater to all levels of accessibility.
Birdwatchers frequently visit the area to check out migrating birds that stop over at the refuge. It
is amazing how many springs there are hidden in the desert.
Overall it was a great week in the field, teaching and learning about chainsaws. At night
the weekly cook-off between veggies and meat eaters continued as usual. I’d have to say the
garbanzo bean/spinach curry was the most memorable for the veggies.