17 April 2010

Earth Day at Chino Hills State Park

This morning came the privilege of taking part in Earth Day volunteer work at Chino Hills State Park.  About 100 or more volunteers gathered at the Rolling M Ranch area within the park and dispersed into several groups.  Our two sons made seed balls to be saved for next year, while last year's were distributed by them and other kids around the ranch site for native plant propagation. 

Meanwhile, my wife and I joined a crew to put up wooden fencing at the perimeter of the group camp site at the horse staging area nearby.  There were a couple dozen of us to start at around 8 a.m., although the contingent was whittled down to maybe ten people in addition to park staff and volunteers by a little before noon when work was completed.  The group installed a little less than 500 feet worth of fencing, with posts spaced at eight feet intervals and two rails inserted in each post. 

After the group carried posts and rails to the work site, park employees used a gas-powered auger to dig the hole.  The rest of the group placed poles, measured for correct depth and leveling, inserted the rails, and filled and tamped down the holes with dirt.  After a while a process was developed that made the work go fairly quickly and included several volunteers going back to add more dirt to be tamped down at the holes to try and ensure more stability.

The great thing was that, without defined roles other than the park ranger who guided the overall process and the staff who manned the auger and established the location of the poles within the holes, volunteers and staff worked together efficiently and quickly to complete the job—a great example of how volunteer work can be successful, although there were some folks who drifted off when it was realized that not everyone was needed.  Hopefully, those people were able to find something to do elsewhere.

Afterwards, at about noon, we headed back to the ranch site for lunch and a wrap-up to a fun and meaningful morning.  The weather was nice, the results were tangible, and Earth Day took on a little more significance when people have a chance to do something that makes a little bit of a difference.

The photos are courtesy of Ron Krueper, California State Parks.

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