by Max Benson; crewmember 2016, crew leader 2017
My first year with Wyoming Conservation Corps was in 2016. I had graduated from high school in 2015 and went directly into an apprenticeship as an electrician. After a short year, I knew the apprenticeship was not for me. Although I learned a great deal as an apprentice, I was ready for a new adventure, especially one outdoors. I was born and raised in Laramie, Wyoming and grew up camping, fishing, and hiking. Although I have enjoyed some of my beautiful home state, I was eager to learn more.
I have very fond memories of not only the diversity of people on my crew last year, but the pride that we shared in completing so many different projects. In Glendo, we maintained miles of trail including a rock wall. In Buffalo, we cut Russian Olive trees to help irrigation ditches for farming fields. And in the Bighorn National Recreation Area we built buck and rail animal fence. All of these projects and others helped me understand the hard work and dedication required to conserve the land.
Education Day was always interesting. We learned about renewable energy at Glendo’s hydro powered dam, a method that has been effectively used since ancient times. And did a canoe ride down the Bighorn National Recreation Area to learn about the geography and nature of the canyon.
One of my favorite wildlife experiences was the night our crew slept under the stars and deer came right up to us eating the grass and even nibbling on some crew member’s sleeping bags. I came to have a true respect for the wild life and nature during my time with the Wyoming Conservation Corps.
In closing, the people, the experience, the leadership, the camaraderie, and knowing you’re doing something great makes the long hours and hard work all worth it.