My brother recently sent me some videos from his new job as the River Restoration Director for the Southwest Conservation Corps in Colorado. I was going to just post the videos here and say a few words (yes, again) about his awesomeness. Just so I didn't say anything stupid and wrong, I checked the SCC website to make sure I had my facts straight first. While there I discovered my brother's bio and was totally impressed. Of course, I knew all of this was going on in his life, but it sounds so much better when it's all put together in one paragraph like this:
Mike grew up in rural Vermont where he grew to love the snow, the mountains and rivers. In the years following high school, he began to explore the varied Southwest and pursue a degree in Ecology and Natural History /Photography at Prescott College in Arizona. Over the summers he labored away, soon leading a trail crew, firefighting and as a lookout in the most remote tower in the lower forty-eight states. Mike finished his formal education by conducting Wild and Scenic river research in the Grand Canyon where his love for rivers really began. Mike was then hired by the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps in Steamboat Springs, CO, as Project Coordinator where he trained crew leaders and facilitated conservation projects in many stunning locations. Throughout the next few years Mike worked to hone his rafting skills on numerous private trips and worked as head sawyer for a fire mitigation company. Mike has also been carpenter, a snowboard instructor, and an Outward Bound River Instructor. In 2002, he moved to Nederland, CO where he directed the Mountain Youth Corps in Invasive Species inventory, monitoring and treatment. He soon was the Academic Director at the local alternative high school filling the roles of counselor, registrar, disciplinarian, records monitor, independent study facilitator, substitute, and district liaison for Chinook West, a program that serves at-risk youth. He also directed fundraising, coordinated and lead school excursions backpacking in Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, exploring the four corners area, rafting the San Juan River and more. Mike realized that his heart truly lies with conservation work, especially within the canyons of the Southwest, and jumped at the opportunity to reconnect with conservation corps as River Restoration Director.Doesn't he sound impressive? (I still say the most impressive thing he ever did was to convince Julie to marry him, but that's just my opinion...)
Anyway, here's a couple of videos about the work he's doing on the Durango River. The goal is to remove the invasive species Tamarisk from the river. Tamarisk is a small tree-like plant that grows in dense thickets and has roots that grow 100 feet long and consume a huge amount of water (more than 200 gallons a day). Not only does it choke out native plant species, but the thickets block wildlife (and human) access to the river.
Here's a video that explains the project a bit more:
But this one has my brother narrating at the beginning and he's in it quite a bit - and it includes some of the kids from one of the youth crews:
If you know any young adults who might be interested in joining a crew, info is here.