Overall, the weather of our weekend planting (Oct. 16-18, 2020) was challenging. We experienced everything from moderately high winds and waves Friday to almost ideal planting weather on Saturday, followed by snow Saturday night into Sunday morning.
Center for Native Plants delivered the trees and shrubs to Big Arm State Park. Loading them into the barge went smoothly with minimal issues created by the wind and waves. The plants were left in the barge overnight to protect them from the deer and then offloaded Saturday. The work crew was barged over in two loads on Saturday morning.
This 2020 autumn planting session was set up to have the physical operations youth-led with adults in support roles and some working as team members on youth-led teams. The teams were led by the youth and the overall process was directed by Eva Isbell, an 18-year-old Summit rank Venturer who has recently completed her Eagle Scout Board of Review.
All 114 trees/shrubs were planted and fenced by 4 p.m., thanks to the pre-work by the Camp Ranger Duane Hille and his team – Transformation Team Members – and adult volunteers. Their setting the individual plants and enclosure fence posts, auguring the planting holes, laying out the mulch and soil amendments at each site, delivering of the plants as required and cutting and installing the fencing, aided the process significantly.
The rain Saturday night and all day Monday has assured adequate soil moisture as the newly planted trees enter dormancy for the winter.
Maria Diss, photo-journalist from the Kalispell NBC TV affiliate, covered the planting Saturday morning and, as promised, planted a tree herself – a 14-foot, 4-year-old quaking aspen. She also viewed all of the spread-out operations and spent time with the team led by Julie Hille who were preparing a lunch that featured hot homemade soup.
The Transformation Team will meet in the next few weeks to review accomplishments to date and prepare preliminary work plans for 2021. The “Learning Organization” concept works for the leadership team – I am totally satisfied that this type of organization can accelerate the transfer of knowledge to the youth so that they can have ownership of the work they have done and will do.
The youth will reap future rewards. This is a long term project and process benefiting many generations to come.
John W. Manz
Melita Island Transformation Team Lead