Allison Dawson, Conservation Programs Assistant; Bear Yuba Land Trust
It must have been tails, because here I am in California! I actually had never been to California before I drove here from my home state of North Carolina in the middle of January to serve the Sierra. I remember my first thoughts as we passed the Welcome to California sign being “Wow! This is a really beautiful place”. Then, I started thinking about how the landscape reminded me of “Homeward Bound”, one of my favorite movies in the whole wide world. My journey here is somewhat similar to the adventures of Shadow, Sassy and Chance as I overcome obstacles, form amazing friendships and have fun!
I arrived in California with excitement to roll my sleeves up and start serving the Sierra. I had just finished serving in New Hampshire with SCA AmeriCorps as an environmental educator/conservation corps member and had such a great experience I wanted to get involved again. I had a blast volunteering in the community, getting to know people who are practicing stewardship of the earth and making a positive impact. I have always had a desire to help out, even when I was little. Mostly because I was nosy and wanted to be involved in everyone’s business I think. So, I came to California wanting to make watershed restoration of the Sierra my business!
California has a few different animals and plants I have not seen before, one of them being the infamous invasive plant, Scotch Broom (Cytsisus scoparius). However, Scotch Broom stands no chance against Team Land Trust. I have been organizing 5 Scotch Broom Challenges, which are volunteer attempts to control the spread of the invasive plant species. My first event was March 3rd and I am super pleased to report it was a success! I had 20 volunteers show up at 9:00 in the morning on a Saturday to pull invasive plants while there was still some snow on the ground. We had such a good time that when I said it was time to head back one of the volunteers commented, “oh wow, I guess time flies when you’re having fun!” I had made up a mad lib about Scotch Broom to make the event more educational and get a couple laughs out of the volunteers. It was so awesome to me that people were inspired to take time to remove invasive plants from their natural spaces and have fun doing it. I have also been able to play in the dirt with some volunteers as we widen and finish parts of a new trail project. Spring is trail work time. I will be able to be more involved in trail work and have already been assigned a project creating timber cribbing to stabilize the bank next to one of the land trust trails.