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first shift as a volunteer park attendant.

July 26, 2013

Not to far away from where I live, there is a 44 acre nature reserve that is surrounded almost entirely by residential areas. It’s an unusual place. There are three different habitats in the park. There’s high desert scrub land, a small forested area with lots of undergrowth, and a marsh land with lots of reeds and cattails.

The park is a home for mallard ducks, coots, Canada geese, redwing blackbirds, yellow headed blackbirds, killdeer, tree swallows, and magpies. I’ve also spotted one beautiful fox, a great horned owl, several great blue herons, a few ospreys, and two juvenile raccoons.  There are two bat houses, but I have not seen any bats, as far as I can tell. I have been told bats do live in the park.

I’ve been going to the nature reserve for over a year to take pictures, observe wildlife and get some exercise, but I just recently signed up to be one of the park attendants. This past evening was my first shift.

I walked along many trails. Some of them double back on each other. Some just stop, and others are long, and kind of steep. I didn’t loose my footing, and I am quite glad of that.

The place is beautiful. It feels surreal to be there. It is bordered by two busy roads, and there has always been traffic noise whenever I’ve been to the park. It is hard to believe that all this nature is in an urban area.

This evening I picked up trash. That’s what I’ll be doing each shift. I found an excellent tool on amazon, called Pickup Stix. It’s a set of giant tongs. I was planning on buying one of those stabby-sticks that people use to pick up paper with, but I found something better, and it worked well. I am tall, and was glad I didn’t have to bend over far to reach the trash. Also, using the tool helps because I don’t have to touch the trash, I just grab it, and put it in a trash bag that I carry with me.

I won’t just be picking up trash. Eventually I will probably be leading tours through the park, but I have to learn more about it before I do that.

It was hot out… probably close to 100 degrees. At 8 pm.

I worked until 9:30. It was still light out. It cooled down some. After I picked up almost all the trash, I sat down to write a report. There are areas in the park that are higher than the rest of it, and from these observation points quite a view can be seen. I sat on a bench in a nice spot, and wrote my report. After that, I returned to my car, looked around, spotted a bit of trash in the small dirt parking lot, picked it up, put the trash bag in the trunk, and went home.

I brought the trash bag home instead of putting it in the trash can at the park because much of what I picked up could be recycled.. plastic bottles, pieces of paper, and aluminum cans. I unloaded the bag here at home, and put the recyclables in the bin outside the house.

Just now, I filed my first online report at the volunteer website.

It is good to take care of nature.

Here is a view of the park and the surrounding area. You can click on the picture to enlarge it. When you want to get back to the blog, just hit the back button.

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