What A Week!

Now that I have gotten home, taken a long steaming shower, and slept about 30 hours over the past two days, I am ready to reflect on the amazing week we shared along the central coast.  I learned a lot of new words, for example culvert, discing a field, and the root ‘pug’ (yeah, Shirley’s dog is evil).  I got to see first hand how organizations focused on environmental education, public health, and youth empowerment all come together in the agricultural communities of Salinas and Watsonville.  And also to connections formed between environmentalists and agriculturalists in small and large farms, organic and conventional.  Whoa!  But most of all, I got to see how eight minds other than my own process all of these experiences and site visits.  I learned immensely from all of the new perspectives and perceptions that we shared with each other.

Literally standing between organic lettuces and endangered amphibian habitat, we learn about the challenges and successes of mitigation in agricultural lands.

Literally standing between organic lettuces and endangered amphibian habitat, we learn about the challenges and successes of mitigation in agricultural lands.

So one moment that will always stay with me?  There are a few.  Planting onions with Sofia, an ALBA farmer, on her strawberry plot.  She told me about the spiders she introduced as a form of integrated pest management.  Will quivered in fear.  There were definitely a few shrieks from our group when a bug jumped out of a dark hole.

Planting cebolla con las fresas at ALBA in Salinas.

Planting cebolla con las fresas at ALBA in Salinas.

What about when I had to go after Joe and Maria, after they drifted away from the group while watching sea otters rip clams out of their shells with their cute little paws.  Woops.

Joe and Maria! Left, right, left, right....

Joe and Maria! Left, right, left, right….

And of course, working with Aliza during the whole trip to keep everyone fed, happy and rested… will kind of rested.

Spreading mulch with Aliza at Food, What?!?!

Spreading mulch with Aliza at Food, What?!?!

And where will I go from here?  I am inspired to eat organic.  I am inspired to approach conservation through the lens of adaptive socio-ecological systems.  I am looking forward to finding my place in the amazing network of organizations working toward ecological health through social and environmental avenues.

Thank you everyone for allowing me to grow as a teacher and learner this past week!

The star fish is eating! at Hopkins Marine Life Refuge.

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