On Sunday, the 1st of April, we pulled out of the Volunteer Village for the last time. After saying our good-byes we left with heavy hearts on the one hand but with high expectations for a month of lake living and good bass fishing! We arrived at Lake Sam Rayburn in eastern Texas about 4 hours later.
We have so many wonderful memories of the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. We had the pleasure of working for some of the greatest people. Lee Gaston the Volunteer Coordinator and all the other fellows at the Field Office; Bryan Adams, the Environmental Education Coordinator and all the Volunteer Docents at the Discovery Center. Those are some of the folks who make working at the Refuge fun and rewarding. We met Jennifer Sanchez who is the Manager for the Mid Gulf Coast Complex and she was very nice to us but we had very little contact with her. Everyone so appreciated everything that we had done.
My biggest challenge wasn't working with all the 4th and 7th graders who came on field trips. It was updating the MSDS binders. MSDS means Material Safety Data Sheets and all organizations that employ people and use chemicals of any kind must maintain them and they have to be up to date. The binders at the field office had not been updated in about 4-5 years. And there were hundreds of chemicals, each needing to be researched on the internet, determine if we have the latest version of that chemical's MSDS and if not print it out. In almost all cases we didn't have the latest and the latest was many pages longer than the older version. I also had to take a detailed inventory of all the chemicals on hand at the Field office and at the Discovery Center. Toss sheets that were no longer valid, find and print out those that were valid and make copies. I ended up with two 5 inch binders for the master lists, a binder for the Discovery Center, one for the herbicide locker, one for the maintenance building and one for the building that housed all of the fire equipment. I ended up using about 5 reams of paper! Included some time spent working on it at the RV I spent about 60 hours or so on this project. I really felt that I had contributed something because the annual Safety Review and Inspection is coming up the first part of April at the Field Office. Jim Payne, the Safety Manager is glad to have up to date manuals.
Rick spent his time helping out where ever needed at the field office. Lee was wanting some new signs made for posting around the refuge, so with lots of wood, a plunge router and paint Rick was able to take care of that task. The job was somewhat hindered by the fact that the doors on the building were wide open and some days the humidity was too high for doing any painting! Also, the field office had been renting storage space a few miles from the new location for the field office. A new storage building was finally ready to take over that task. Jeff Frasher, the Maintenance Manager, had a volunteer to help, so the time was ripe to move everything over to the new location. They worked on that project for several days. Rick's back was aching after that dirty job. I told him “well somebody had to do it”. Of course I already related the pulling of abandoned crab pots and the tree planting. So Rick was never without a project to work on.
And last but not least are the birds and other wildlife on the Refuge. Before we arrived I hoped to be able to see at least one Roseate Spoonbill. Well, we saw lots of them and so many others besides. And the alligators! Good grief we saw a lot of those. And the last month the wild flowers started to bloom. Everywhere we looked we saw the flowers. We do thank Lady Bird Johnson. What a wonderful legacy she has left all of us!
So I will leave you with some pictures of some of things that we saw while at the refuge. Unfortunately we do not have any pictures of our projects while working at the refuge.
So bye for now, More later about the lake life.