by Charly Kearns | November 2016
For the past three years, we’ve had the chance to partner with Joint Base Lewis-McChord on their October Day of Service. This program matches groups of volunteers from JBLM with nonprofit organizations in the community.
From a land stewardship perspective, it is hard to top a group of 25-30 young men and women who have been through basic training! Every time that we host this event, I am amazed at the energy, respect, and efficiency shown by the volunteers – this year was no different.
We spent the day at the Land Trust’s newest property in Yelm, a ten acre Nisqually River shoreline property. I had a long list of tasks identified, including: removal of several small, dilapidated sheds; invasive plant control, and fence installation. I was sure that would keep us busy for the day. After providing an introduction to the site and overview of the day’s activities, I turned the group loose. It was all I could do to keep up with giving out new assignments as tasks were completed – I hardly had time to pick up a hammer or pry bar!
By lunch time, two sheds were on the ground, with salvageable materials separated from the trash, and all the nails removed. Another group had cleared all the Scotch broom on the property, and had put a big dent in the blackberry population. My biggest challenge for the day was harnessing all that energy and not run out of things to do!
As our initial task list neared completion, I ran back to our plant nursery and grabbed some salvaged Douglas fir seedlings. By the end of the afternoon, the entire site that had been cleared was also filled with baby trees. This was one of those days on the land that I like the most. It isn’t often one gets the chance to watch a site transformed so quickly. To see the result of hard work change the future of even a tiny piece of the planet is so rewarding.
Many thanks to this group for all their service, both on duty and off!