Wednesday, June 26, 2013

WRV Crew Leader Training

Crew Leader training was this weekend and I had an awesome time learning leadership and ecological restoration skills in one of the last remaining Civilian Conservation Corp Camps in the United States. The CCC was formed post Great Depression and operated from 1933 to 1942. They offered thousands of men rewarding work and the opportunity to rejuvenate the stagnant economy. The CCC is responsible for building some of our nation’s finest parks and highways including, Red Rocks Amphitheater which opened in 1941. There were once more than 4,500 of these camps but only a handful remain so it was extra special to be sitting in the birthplace of the greatest music venue in the world. The training was taught by the amazing staff at Wildlands RestorationVolunteers (WRV) and followed the comprehensive crew leadership manual provided by The Outdoor Stewardship Institute (OSI).  Throughout the weekend, Denver Mountain Parks graciously provided us space in an old CCC  hall where we examined topics ranging from dealing with different learning styles, conflict management and the proper methods for carrying, using, storing and safely engaging with tools. We even got a really cool history lesson about the camp from a DMP employee on Sunday morning.  We also learned how to properly assess your crew, provide praise, recognition and feedback and follow the correct agency protocols on projects. There were a variety of different WRV staff members present at the trainings and each module took on a slightly different feel according to the personality of the instructor.  

CCC Camp-Morrison, CO
 After spending the morning indoors learning and going through exercises, we ventured to Red Rocks in the afternoon to practice the skills we learned. Saturday afternoon was spent on the edge of the lower south lot at Red Rocks where we learned to dig seed and place erosion matting in a highly degraded and sensitive area. Although we had limited time on Saturday, I really enjoyed the hands on practice with seeding and it was awesome to see our new group collaborating so efficiently.

Red Rocks Social Trail
Hard At Work Laying Coconut Fiber Erosion Matting
Nate In Action
Sunday involved more hands on training as we ventured to a popular and less than desirable ‘social trail’ at Red Rocks to practice transplanting and erosion control techniques.  The park is cracking down on these illegal social trails that slither throughout the park and we were responsible for closing one of the more frequented routes. The first part of the morning was spent digging up shrubs and grasses and transplanting them on the social trail to decrease the potential use. We also gathered slash and placed it over the trail to prevent people from entering the area. In the afternoon we switched gears and learned to install rock structures to prevent erosion and control the flow of water.  This was my favorite part of the weekend as I quickly learned that it’s insanely fun to gather rocks and fit them like puzzle pieces into the right areas. After this, we concluded our training by practicing various crew scenarios. We learned to deal with the volatile husband and wife tandem, the overly eager distracted volunteer and the extremely dehydrated worker. Big thanks to Nate for being the best and most calm instructor possible through these scenarios.

Tremendous View

After this weekend I certainly feel much more confident leading a crew and can’t wait to get out there and mentor on a few more projects. Although the technical aspect of each project is something I’m still learning about, I’m anticipating this knowledge will grow as I continue to volunteer . Thanks to WRV and the Denver Mountain Parks for a fantastic weekend!

Enjoy the Pictures!


"Trails have multiple values and their benefits reach far beyond recreation. Trails can 
enrich the quality of life for individuals, make communities more livable, and 
protect, nurture, and showcase America’s grandeur by traversing areas of natural 
beauty, distinctive geography, historic significance, and ecological diversity. Trails 
are important for the nation’s health, economy, resource protection and education." 

American Trails, Trails for All Americans report, 1990 

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