- November 01, 2017
- Posted by Dalia Gladstein
To wrap up the end of the season, our crew’s last hitch before Warm Hearts Warm Homes was at Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is over 8,000 acres of land that is protected and regulated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and was created to be a place for migratory birds, fish, and conservation of other wildlife, both threatened and non-threatened. During our 10 days spent at the refuge, our crew was working alongside Beverly (one of the employees managing the refuge) as she was implementing a plan that was years in the making to repopulate and reintroduce native tree species back into the refuge, drain the existing ponds, and reform the streams throughout the refuge, which would eventually bring back native trout to the area.
Working on this particular project was truly a unique experience and one of the most meaningful hitches to me personally. By planting trees, I felt like there was a direct impact of our efforts—if we were to come back and visit the refuge, we would be able to see the progress of the trees/fish and have the result of our work be right in front of us. By having a vision of what the refuge would look like down the road, I was motivated to plant as many trees as possible during the time we were there.
Working with a project partner like Beverly made the experience so much more enjoyable and meaningful. She had so much knowledge about the different wildlife on the refuge – from birds, to elk, to bats…she would take us to various points around the refuge, and tell us about the different animals she was monitoring and show us the instruments she would use to track them, such as sound recorders to identify different bat species. Beverly told us about what the land looked like before it became a refuge, and gave us a lot of historical information about the area, including fascinating stories about when railroads were being built on what is presently refuge land. Beverly also baked for us and gave us treats every day!
Having this particular hitch be at the very end of our season, I felt a great sense of closure. By working on a project so close to Kalispell (especially right after coming back from a month in Utah with my crew), I felt as if were directly contributing to bettering our environment close to home, and learning about the area too. The nature of the project itself was great in the sense that I have the opportunity to monitor its progress whenever I would want to visit the refuge; generations hundreds of years in the future would even be able to see what I can say I took a part in helping bring to life (literally!).
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