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[Image Description: Four MCC members wade across a river. In the background, there are hillsides covered in gold from the quaking aspens, and deep green pine trees.]

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Busy as a Beaver

A crew poses with their MCC vehicle. Two leaders are standing on the top and the crew members are smiling and posed on the ground.

Ever heard the phrase, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade?” That’s exactly what Expedition Leaders Claire and Will did when it started pouring rain on their campsite by Petrolia Lake. Claire saw the rain, pulled a bar of soap out of her pocket, and turned it into a shower! Thank goodness, because a quick rinse was necessary after a sweaty week of building beaver dam analogs out on the hot prairie.

This crew has been put on a special project building these BDAs all summer long. To build a BDA, the crew first has to harvest materials. They trim conifer branches to use as stakes and filler, and willow tree stems to weave the main portion of each dam. When I visited the crew, since I’m chainsaw-certified, I got to bring a saw out with me so I could help cut some more stakes, which was super fun. Once the crew has enough materials, they then can build the dams, borrowing the blueprint from beavers. Stakes form the frame of the dam, then willows and conifer branches are woven through, and sod is packed in at the base to create a seal. The huge rainstorm put the crew’s BDAs to the test, and they succeeded! You could say Claire and Will have quite the crew of busy beavers.

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