Monday, August 4, 2014

The Last Hurrah!

Yesterday Wink and Leah brought us all to Mount Washington! Lucky enough for us the view was lovely, and while we went up the air became colder and it surprised me how people can hike up it with the air being a bit hard to breathe.

We had a small tour since they had maintenance going on the upper building, but we walked around and took pictures and talked about the few plants that can survive in such harsh conditions. It was lots of fun and I hope to return one day to the mountain.

Weeding the path.

Today, on our last day, we returned to southern New Hampshire and we once again worked with Jen and Joanne. We fixed the gravel rock path at the Great Bay Office by pulling out unwanted plants.

Ewwww gross!

After that we got to have the good luck of removing a smelly and moldy couch and water drenched mattresses that were unfortunately dumped in the woods! D:  After a hard day of work though, we all go together and ate pizza and telling stories. Now it's time to go home!

~Sam Castrillon

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

When It's Raining

Such a sweet horse!
On Sunday we all went to ride horses at the farm by the river. It's a pretty little spot about ten to fifteen minutes from the hostel we're staying at. While they readied the horses we busied ourselves by petting two draft ponies, Ruben and Rusty, after Ruben was led out for Sharil to ride. We were all told what horses we would ride; I rode a Oreo ice cream-colored horse named Mister, Cindi was given Ringo, Nicole got Cassie, and Aura got a large retired lumber horse named Billy. We all had fun, though unfortunately cutting the ride short due to sudden rain. Afterward we took a nap. Then once the rain let up we rode a train for about five miles.

Ridin' the rails with Conway Scenic Railroad.

 Yesterday we started to work in the rain restoring waterbars at Black Cap (in the Green Hills Preserve) to help run water off a trail. While we worked it started to pour and we heard thunder and saw some lighting so we took off and headed to the Discovery Center to learn about weather mostly up on Mount Washington. Once again the rain let up and we returned to the mountain and we worked, ate blueberries, and we climbed to the top while it was very foggy.

Rain doesn't get us down!

~Sam Castrillon

Monday, July 28, 2014

Our Week in Maine

Week 3: This week the ladies and I were working with Jon Bailey in Maine at Mt. Tom. Hiking! Monday we hiked up a trail to the top to blaze (mark trees with paint) and do some lopping on the way down. It was so steep half way through, my thighs were killing me! It was like a boulder was placed on my legs, or it just shows how unfit I am (I'm getting there lol). Any-who, the path was looking awesome and successful, I felt accomplished. Oh, before climbing up the mountain,  Jon was explaining some history about old establishments that were there and artifacts that were found. Pretty darn cool to know that there was once a field or a farm in that area.

Jon has the munchies. =)

Wednesday we were kind of just doing the same thing, hiking, blazing and lopping. By day 3 of using the white paint to blaze, were referred to it as fluff just because. What was pretty amazing to realize was that the girls and I created trails for hikers to explore (of course with the assistance of Jon to guide). Maybe in the future we can even create our own. Mosquitoes! Sheesh they are feisty, when one bites you, they all do, the horror! They were bearable and so work continued.  
Shoo, flies!

Thursday was much more of a calmer day because Jon wasn't there today. We worked with 3 interns who talked a lot about their college experience. Two of them went to Bowdoin. While we were on our way through the woods, lopping and blazing another trail, something unfortunate happened. Aura and Nicole were stung by hornets that had a nest on the ground, Aura being stung twice. Luckily they held out to continue to work even though it hurt a lot. 

Friday was a very enjoyable and calm day, we worked back at the preserve at Mt.Tom. What was pretty awesome was that I helped Jon move a huge rock down to a path so that hikers could cross on it. We also cut down 2 small trees :( but it was for the sake of the hikers' travels. Half day! Because we did our work and completed the path successfully, during the afternoon time we went to shop for souvenirs.

~Sharil Deleon

Monday, July 21, 2014

Last week the LEAF crew spent their time out in the wilds of northern New Hampshire.  With limited connectivity, Aura had to save up her posts for today. Enjoy!

Dirrrrrrty hands.

I SAW A MOOSE for the first time and it was not mounted on a wall, which was a awesome experience.

Going to pick more wall lettuce was better than the day before, just because there were not as many mosquitos and it was calming to hear the rain trickle down. After going to have lunch at the Moose Coffee Shop we went to identify plants, which was a good challenge. Then we traveled to Hurbert Swamp to do some trail maintenance. The horse flies were very annoying. It was a nice smooth day. 


The border!

Today I was in 2 places at once. I was at Canada and in New Hampshire, which was cool! We did trail maintenance. We also tried to see a beaver, but we had no luck in seeing one today (sad face). Today was also the day where we traveled 4 hours to get to Burlington,Vermont - yay, what a trip! We all slept on the way. 
Two feet, two countries.

July 18 - University of Vermont Campus Visit

Friday means it's almost Saturday! Woo! 

Going to UVM was a good experience and our guide was excellent. I really do not think UVM is the school for me, but I was a good tour and I learned many things about their ecological program and their green roof, which was very cool. I had caviar for the first time. It was gross, but the sushi was good. I can't get the feeling out of my mouth. Ewww!  After the visit we went off to a treat at Ben & Jerry's.


July 19 - Burlington, Vermont

Oh Saturday, with the smell of burned waffles to wake us up. 

We went to the farmers market, which was nothing like what I expected, but it was awesome either way. I bought little things here and there and got a henna tattoo. We visited Echo Lake Aquarium, which was fun. Seeing turtles and other creatures was amazing. We also the show Carrie the musical, which was good (even though the show was two hours long). We'll be going to dinner later.
~Aura Hernandez

Friday, July 18, 2014

lettuce, bugs, and ricotta

Driving to the Vickie Bunnell Preserve was very bumpy. Losing radio signal and listening to French people was funny just because we barely understood them.
When we got to the site we met Richard [Van de Poll], who showed us the way to save the native plants. At first it was okay and then I thought, what am I looking for again? After a while you got the hang of spotting the wall lettuce.
Dirty hands!

The bugs were just around the top of your head and or next to your ears, and that was very annoying. Then we pulled out the head net which kept the bugs off for a bit, but then I could not see well through the net. The worst thing was getting dirty under my finger nails which were growing and now they are short and dirty; wonderful.
Overall the collection of the wall lettuce was amazing - 7 buckets filled with just the plant.
Buckets and buckets of wall lettuce!
Now I'm thinking about dinner which was good. We made shells filled with ricotta with maraina sauce, salad and garlic bread. It was a nice good dinner with Wink, Leah and Cindi. And of course my other LEAF team members Sam, Nicole, and Sharil!
~Aura Hernandez

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Successful Day!

The ride to Potter Farm was blurred just because I fell asleep on the way there. When we arrived to the place it was just beautiful and it was full of different beautiful flowers like the Canadian Lily.
Rescuing a silver maple.
So then we ate lunch and went to work. The task of that day was to save the sliver maple trees from the virgin vine which, in cases, is was choking up the poor little trees. After 35 trees I think we managed to try to save 32 trees and sadly 2 died, but it's better than nothing.
After that amazing rescue we went to see the Connecticut River, which smelled terrible from the cow manure, but brought me back to my parents' home country when I was younger. I saw a fish jump out of the river which was cool. Then later that day we came to the Snowfield Cabin which was very clean and awesome with so many rooms and and an amazing view from the outside.
Hanging out in the Snowfield Cabin.
After a long day we went to go jump into the lake that was near by. I saw fishes in the lake while I was swimming and to me, the day ended successfully.
~Aura Hernandez

Monday, July 14, 2014

Let's See How It Goes...

I'm looking goooooooood!

The first week at LEAF was really fun, filled with activities we all enjoyed!
The first day we stayed at The Pines Bed & Breakfast with Mary Margaret, her husband and their three cats. We also got to meet some really outgoing nice people from The Nature Conservancy.
The second day we had an orientation sort of thing where we all gathered and went over some expectations along with introducing ourselves. That same day we went kayaking and canoeing! It was my first time canoeing and it was so much fun.
The third day was pretty tough at first for all of us because we did get stuck in thorn bushes and we also stepped in a lot of poison ivy, meaning we had to scrub ourselves with Technu a lot. The end of the day was exciting because we got to go to Hampton beach, had some pizza, and went out for some great ice cream.

All of us with TNC volunteer, Len Martin, at Manchester Cedar Swamp.
The fourth day we mad our way to the Manchester Cedar Swamp and worked on the swamp pathway.

Reading tree rings with Professor Tom Lee.
On Friday, (fifth day) we went on a UNH tour and met Professor Tom Lee, who gave us a brief tour of the geology department. That same day we went to go see the oysters, and learn about their importance in filtering the bay.
We ended the day off by going to Prescott Park to watch Shrek the Musical! It was honestly really funny, at least I found it funny, and overall a great treat for this week.
Yesterday (Saturday) we attended the Bioblitz but we arrived late :( I really wanted to the nature sketch / painting. We got to do some animal tracking though, and at night we had story time!
Now, (Sunday) we are at Loon Mountain Resort about to go zip lining. Let's see how it goes...
~Nicole Medina