Monday, July 4

Saying Goodbye

Who would have thought that ten teenagers from around the country could come together so quickly to form one mega plant collecting machine? As individuals we learned that we are strong, but nothing is stronger than what we became while together. A family.

So fifteen days later when it came to saying goodbye it was no surprise that it was an emotional morning. Today each of us brought home memories that will last a life time, a new outlook on plants and most importantly a new perspective on our lives that could only have been discovered through the team.

Now we must wait, for only time will tell what is next for all of us. Some will be doctors and others just scientists in their own chosen field. No matter what we do, I know that as long as we stay true to ourselves and our dreams we can do anything, be anyone and achieve any goal imaginable.

Sunday, July 3

Pack Out What You Pack In....and Sometimes More

Today promises to be a busy final day at the Reserve. After joining our neighbors in Idyllwild for a community pancake breakfast to benefit the Mountain Emergency Preparedness Team, we'll be back at Trailfinders Lodge trying to pack two weeks' worth of dirty clothes, adventures, discoveries, and new friendships into our bags, and trying to leave the Lodge in better shape than we found it. (Don't worry: yesterday we shipped off all the dried plant specimen collections to the Smithsonian.)

It's a challenging and emotional day, so we may not have time for much more than some quick thoughts about what we've learned, which we'll post, with some pictures, as we go along.

Some Lessons Learned:

Plants have artistry.--Evan N.

Dehydration can hit before you realize it.--Evan S.

Plants are amazing. Dodder is "wireless" and flies over other plants like Batman flying over Gotham City rooftops.--Erin

It's better not to judge things before trying them.--Evan S.

Jimson weed is tricky because it smells like peanut butter, but could blind you if you get it in your eyes.--Alex

It's easy to make friends but hard to let them go.--Rachel

Invasive species are threats to an entire ecosystem.--Nick

It's important to use the right end of the coffee cup, especially when talking about how important it is to use the right end of the coffee cup.--Rusty

Appreciation for the natural world grows exponentially with understanding.--Boone

Wherever you go you can, and will, gather friends and even new family.--Evan N.

Saprophytes (like some of the orchids growing on the Reserve) were once thought to live only on decomposing matter (not photosynthesis), but now there's a debate about whether some are parasites living off fungi.--George

It doesn't take long to grow close to good people.--Boone

Nature will never cease to amaze me, from gorgeous plants in the desert to glow worms in the mountains.--Katie

Only plants in flower are considered good collection specimens.--David

People can come together quickly through a mutual hatred for generic-brand Wal-Mart food.--Nick

The desert isn't as barren as it looks.--Anna

Friendships blossom under the influence of shared interests, and I'm always excited to be there when it happens.--Katie

Columbine and the Fendler Meadow-rue are both in the Ranunculaceae family.  Columbine is in the Aquilegia genus and the rue is in the Thalictrum genus (Thalictrum fendleri).  The similar leaf-shape made me think they were related.  Also, Ranunculaceae is a ridiculous-sounding word, like a spell Ron Weasley would cast to make slugs come out of somebody's nose. --Julie.

Despite coming from different backgrounds, we all had a lot in common.--Alex

All green things are not the same. All life is unique.--Erin

Always call back the obstacles on the trail for those who follow. And bring pudding.--George

"Wiper blades" is a spiritual philosophy.--Julie

Peanut M&Ms disappear with astonishing speed.--Anna

Some creeks probably shouldn't be forded.--Julie

If it doesn't have a wick, it probably isn't a candle.--Erin

Dust is no fun to breathe on the trail.--David

In diversity lies strength.--Rusty