Wednesday, July 31, 2013
I only knew Elmer for a short time, but in that time, he was able to teach us so much about the importance of maintaining our ecosystem, as well as the importance of respect. Through his stores, it was clear to me that Elmer's life was spent constantly working to better the environment, himself, and those around him. There are not many people in this world who can completely command the attention of 10 high school students, 7 college students, and 6 chaperons, but with his grace and humor, Elmer was able to keep our group completely entranced in his story.
If any are interested in learning more about Elmer Crow, there has been a Facebook page created to remember him. The link is :
My most heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family and friends of Elmer. I am so glad to have had the change to meet and learn from him, and I will cherish that time forever. Elmer is an inspiration to any young environmentalist, and I plan to pull the knowledge gleaned from him in my future.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
I want to say thank you to all of the people who helped make this trip possible. Thank you to the Tribes, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources, and Forest Service for allowing us to come onto your land, and thank you for teaching us. Thank you to Wenix Red Elk and her family for being so generous. Thank you to all of the people at Heritage University who helped make this trip possible, as well as whoever gives out the grants. Thank you to the parents who allowed their children to take part in the amazing experience. Thank you to my boss for being so patient and allowing me to take almost a month off of work. Thank you to my family for being my support system through all of this. Thank you Haver, Cia, Michelle, Monet, Francisco, Destiny, (My Heritage Family), as well as Chance, Chrissy, Brandy, Morelia, Sheryl, Christian (Spaghetti Straps, Cheese Straps, Spaghetti Cheese, etc), Geo, Calista, Eric, and Ari. At first I was a little bit worried to spend two weeks with high school kids, but you guys proved you are eager to learn and embrace the knowledge that was bestowed upon us. Thank you also to Clinton and Chrissy for keeping your kids in line ;) BIG BIG BIG thank you to Charlie Fiander, and Jayla Krause. Without you two, I know I wouldn't have been able to make the most of this experience, and to be honest, I probably would have been miserable. Also, another huge thank you to Jessica Black for allowing me to be part of this experience.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
After our horse ride, we headed towards the Museum at Warm Springs. We toured the museum and later had a lunch cooked by Arelene Stryer. She later told us stores about her past, and a story about a time when she struggled to fight for her life, and that being persevering and humble allowed her to survive.
After our museum tour and talk from Arelene, we made our way towards Deschutes National Forest to set up camp for a few days.
We are staying at the Wellpinit fair grounds for this leg of the trip. We arrived around 9:30pm and started to set up camp. Our hosts were very generous and offered to buy us all Arbys for dinner. We had one van pick up all of the food so the rest of us could meet Warren Seyler (BPA Coordinator) at our campsite. He let us in, showed us around. It was really dark and there were quite a few mosquitos, so I wanted to get my tent set up quickly. When the van with the food arrived I was still setting up and while they were passing out food, I decided to wait to eat until I was done. Well, once I had finished setting up my tent and went to find my food, my meal was missing :( I don't know if someone ended up eating mine or if it was lost, but for some reason, it really upset me. It was probably the combination of stress and homesickness that sent me over the edge. I didn't blow up at anyone, but I really wanted to go home.
The next morning I was feeling better. We headed to the fair grounds' stadium seating and met Billy Joe Kieffer (Director for Spokane Tribe Department of Natural Resources), Warren Seyler (BPA Coordinator), John Matt (Heritage Coordinator), Bill Matt (Environmental Officer), Brian Crossley (DNR for Spokane Tribe Program Manager), Casey Flannigan (DNR for Spokane Tribes Project Manager), and Brent Nichols (Program Manager for Lake Roosevelt Fisheries). They spoke to us about invasive species, salmon restoration, and wildlife projects around the area.
After that we drove to meet Candice Bennett (Wildlife Biologist for Spokane Tribes). She took us out into the field and showed ud a techniqie called "Track Platting". Track platting is a way for her to determine what small carnivores are in the area. To do this, she baits one end with chicken and on the bottom plate, there is a layer of soot followed by a piece of lightweight track paper. This allows her to see the foot prints of the animals and from there she can identify the species.
There was a crew of photographers from Heritage University that had instructions to take pictures of the environmental science and environmental studies majors. Thats me. I had paparazzi!! It felt odd to be constantly photographed and I sometimes found myself posing.
After we saw the track plate demonstration, we headed to a small picnic site next to Shimican Creek. The tribal members provided us an excellent lunch of hamburgers, chips, and salads.
Once we finished eating, we got to shock fish to monitor the species in the stream!! SO. MUCH. FUN!!!
Later we went down to a section of Lake Roosevelt, where we were provided a delicious meal of salmon, chicken, corn, and potato salad. We got to go swimming and also heard stories from some tribal members.
Overall, it was definitely my favorite day so far. The Spokane Tribe offers many internships, and I plan to look into them in the future.