This week marks the official end to the Youth Conservation Program for the 2014 season. However, this did not mean that the crew would end their term on an easy note!
A final educational opportunity came along for the YCP crew as they spent a day with Nancy Bokino, the Whitebark pine specialist for Grand Teton National Park. They learned how different threats, such as outbreaks of mountain pine beetles and blister rust, have impacted this tree population in Grand Teton National Park. After learning vital background knowledge, the crew went into the field and assisted in collection of visual and sound data in different locations for a long term research project on Whitebark pines. The group became experts in identifying the various sounds that Clark’s Nutcrackers make as they observed the birds while harvesting seeds from the tall branches of the Whitebark pine trees.
The remainder of the week focused on conservation efforts around the Colter Bay picnic area. The group continued work on a fence to consolidate user trails around this popular area. Rain became a constant this week, but through positive attitudes and teamwork, the crew completed 900 feet of fence construction.
“I wasn’t expecting such a wet summer.” says Tom, a returning member from the YCP. “I grew to enjoy the rain this summer. The cooler work days were definitely a plus.”
It was bittersweet as everyone loaded the bus for the last time. Some members departed for high school and college, while another participant is continuing conservation efforts with a new job for the Southwest Conservation Corps. As the crew goes their separate ways, we hope they will take what they have learned this summer and share their knowledge and skills in their home communities.
Thanks to the great performance of the 2014 YCP crew! Because of their excellent efforts, much needed work was completed in Grand Teton National Park that will help improve visitor experiences for years to come.