Have you ever had an adrenalin rush? Amazing isn’t it!? You get a lot of energy, do a lot of projects that you couldn’t have done without the rush. Well I just finished up my adrenalin rush, I call it The Field team. A group of 12 inner-city kids that are interested in horticulture, landscaping and the National parks, that work for the Olmstead Center, under Branching out, as a mobile work force and education experience. They came to the Olmstead house/office in Brookline on the 19th, and until their teach-back after lunch on the 23rd, they had a contagious aura that made everybody else want to work more, even the SCIP interns that worked with us that week.
We, the other NPS workers at the Tri-Cites, had planned to get them to work as three different groups on nine different projects, mostly planting. At the end of the week they completed twelve different projects, two we didn’t even expect. They planted over 100 plants throughout the landscape, from four pallets of winter creeper in the Hollow, to a firethorn just outside the Rock Garden, to six large Mountain Laurel on the back hill of the South Lawn. It would have taken all of the Tri-cite workers twice that long if we put our full force into it, which would then take us away from other projects.
I worked with the groups, changing when an extra set of hands were needed somewhere else. The Field team seemed to work like a well-oiled machine; moving as a group, working in almost pure silence together, eating and playing together in their off time. Even including others, such as myself, the YCC interns and the SCIP interns as well, in their experience. There were a few slip ups. Two projects had to be delayed because we found a wasp’s nest; and then a bee’s nest. But only one person got stung and he wasn’t allergic so everything was okay in a few minutes.
The field team definitely exceeded the expectations we had of them. They worked well, finished quickly, and never complained, except when one of them got stung. They brought us closer to our hoped schedule by at least one week by planting all of the shrubs, trees and ferns, not to mention weeded, most of the Olmstead. Can’t wait to work with them during the Travel Project!