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Field Program

[Image Description: Two MCC members taking a brief break; one is sitting on a rock, the other is standing nearby. They are both in their uniforms, looking out at the expansive, mountain view surrounding them.]

Paint Yellowstone Blue

A crew sprays weeds on a grassy hillside

A warm welcome back to Yellowstone (literally)! After our first training hitch in Yellowstone National Park just a few weeks prior, our wildland restoration crew got to revisit our not-so-old stomping grounds around Mammoth near the north entrance. Previously, we had to brave the cold and unforgiving weather conditions of late spring, but this time we enjoyed nothing but clear and sunny skies. We got to put our herbicide skills to the test, despite our limited field experience, and we showed those weeds who's boss.

While we may have been the bosses of the weeds, our informal boss/project partner Pam Schaefer accompanied us over the first half of the week and provided some guidance on her current projects. And, she gave us some insights into vegetation management in the park. A gaggle of other park service interns tagged along as well, and it seemed as if our crew doubled, if only for a brief couple of days. Sadly, however, we had to bid a premature farewell to Pam since she was busy with other obligations for the second half of our hitch. She gave "mom vibes," and we were very sad to see her leave us. On our last full day, we also got to meet Steve Bekedam, Pam's boss. It was almost like having to go over to your dad's house when you'd rather stay at mom's, so to say the least, we were weary of a new sheriff in town. But surprise! Steve was a cool dad who was trigger-happy out in the field. "I'm just ready to kill some stuff," he would often remind us. Nevertheless, we not so subtly flexed our fancy spray packs to try and convince him to acquire some for his weed crews. We weren't so successful. Sorry guys.

Overall, it was a fun and relaxing week in the field. Although we may have sprayed that funny blue liquid all over invasive weeds out in the field, our hearts and souls were far from blue. Now weeds far and wide will fear our call.