Working outside is where I feel like I was meant to be. Traversing through Aliso Creek, getting my hands dirty, and bringing life back into the sites we work on is my true calling. I love talking to my friends and family about the type of work that I do and the environment that I am in. Putting my work into restoring an ecosystem has given me more of an appreciation of the wilderness that surrounds me in the field and wherever I go.
Our days start bright and early at 7am. The early start really comes in handy when we are working on warmer days. Before going out, the team has a safety talk. Then we chat about what is expected for the day. It is so important that this discussion happens as it mentally prepares us for what the day looks like ahead. Where we are at in the season determines what kind of work we do for the day. The beginning of the season mostly consists of mowing or raking, to prepare for other tasks that we do at that site later in the season such as planting (my personal favorite) or seeding. Most of the season mainly consists of invasive weed management throughout our sites. There will be times where we focus solely on one task for the day and other times where we have the freedom to switch things up when we feel like it’s necessary.
One of my favorite parts about this job is that every day is different. Sometimes, we perform the same tasks multiple days in a row, but there is always something different about each day. It could be the location we are working at, the weather, or one of the biggest day-to-day differences: the wildlife that we experience. I’ve been lucky enough to see some amazing wildlife action while out in the field. From seeing a bobcat for the first time, to being within inches of a roadrunner, I always make sure to have my camera close just in case the perfect photo opportunity presents itself while I am in the field.
While it is fun working outside and being in the wilderness, being a restoration tech has a great physical demand. Some tasks are definitely easier than others, and as someone who is very active outside of this job, I have to make sure to take care of myself while I am out in the field. An important lesson that being a restoration tech has taught me is to really listen to the needs of my mind and my body. As a team, we have created a culture where it’s ok to pace yourself while you’re out in the field and take breaks when needed. I always make sure to have water, a hat and a cooling wrap on me during warmer days or with more physical tasks such as hauling thatch. Additionally, we usually begin our days with a nice stretching session to ensure that we are warmed up and ready for the day.
The end of our days typically consists of packing up our tools and equipment and putting everything away. This is a nice slow end to the day as it gives us time to reflect on the tasks we performed that day and time to wind down. If we have remaining time after our end of day duties, we take this time to talk about the next day, sharpen our bird and plant identifying skills, or talk about what we saw in the field.
Being a restoration tech is more to me than the physical work that I put in. Knowing the amount of effort that goes into restoration has made me more appreciative of the work that I do and the beautiful natural habitats in Southern California. I am always so grateful to come in everyday and do my part in restoring and preserving the canyon.