I'm a volunteer land steward for the Wallowa Land Trust, working on a piece of ground that was recently acquired from a private landowner, using in part funds donated from the community. Now it's time to see what's there, and a habitat survey is part of the project.
I'm not good at this, not really, although I can definitely tell wetlands from the Doug fir forest and the shrubby bits from the grasslands. There's a lot more to it, of course. There's a classification system, and other things I don't really get. I'm more interested in the big picture: this flat area we cross used to be the site of the rodeo grounds, for example. There's an old spring box. Many old roads cross the landscape but are growing in--if you didn't know what to look for, you would miss them.
|My survey buddy|
There's nobody out here, just us and the wind and an approaching storm. I volunteered yesterday too, giving a writing workshop. I donated my portion of the cost to the foundation that held it. Not because I am a wonderful person, but because I had help along the way to becoming a published author, and I want to help others. Volunteering is a way to feel better in a world that doesn't feel all that great right now.
Being a volunteer land steward when I used to get paid to do this kind of work is kind of strange, but it connects me to this place. Connections seem frayed right now, our county divided down party lines. I want all the help I can get. This place, and saving it for the community, we can agree on. That, at least, is something.