Tuesday, May 11, 2010

CalPac Section Meeting at Deep Springs College

Deep Springs Colllege sits twenty-six miles from the nearest town, situated in the eastern California high desert.  The ranch/college hosts 26 male students, and focuses on a liberal arts education, a self-governing student body, manual labor, and an isolation policy.  Needless to say, the location for the CalPac section meeting was an interesting one!

The CalPac section had the task of providing my first introduction to an SRM section meeting and tour.  I think they did a magnificent job.  I met with the section Board of Directors and provided an update from the SRM BOD and headquarters on May 4th and again during the technical session on May 5th.  The group tolerated my inexperience with chalk boards (aren't those extinct?) and provided some feedback for the parent society.

The May 5th technical sessions included some excellent talks: David Neidorf and Paul Starrs introduced us to Deep Springs College, its history and highlights, and Tom Talbot, President of the California Cattlemen's Association, gave an update on the organization and current projects.  Two Deep Springs students provided a glimpse into life at the College, followed by a series of talks focusing on different aspects of the area.  Speakers were: Glenn Harris, Dawn Becker, James Bartolome, Sherm Swanson, Yvonne Wood, and Lynn Huntsinger, and topics included: innovative approaches to land management, vegetation monitoring, grazing management, geomorphology, global pastoralism, and the endemic black toad.  See the lineup and topics on the CalPac section website.

The technical session was concluded by yet another excellent meal prepared by the College followed by a campfire.

The field tour on May 6th was a windy, fun, and educational experience.  Ken Mitchell, Deep Springs Ranch Manager, led us on a tour of the college including their solar array and hydro plant, the surrounding area, the abandoned White Mountain City, a petroglyph site, and the nearby Black Toad Habitat.  The combination of a technical session, much of which focused on the surrounding area, followed by a tour of the college and nearby area was excellent.

For me, the CalPac meeting highlight was the people.  Whether it was stories of 'how I first became a cowboy', renegade plant identification trips for the upcoming finals week, jokes around a camp fire, or quips about this blog, there was fun to be had the entire trip.  I met some great folks, had interesting conversations, and am looking forward to next year!

Stay tuned - I'm heading to Florida next week.

Watch out for that calf!

1 comment:

Dan said...

Thanks for the report Aleta. What a great place to have a meeting.