Earlier this month, our crew traveled to Galveston, TX to take part in a 2 week training program held by the Gulf of Mexico Foundation’s Restoration Technology Training Center. This program was the first one ever held and covered many topics involving coastal restoration: the evaluation of restoration needs, project design, permitting, field planning and implementation, and monitoring. Upon arrival, we went straight to Galveston Community College to meet our instructors, Mike Smith and Carl Ferraro, and get a brief history of restoration in the Gulf of Mexico. Shortly after, the crews departed to see what their housing would be like for the next two weeks.
To say we were pleased is a huge understatement. After spending a large chunk of the year in tents, sweating and fighting off bugs, we could not believe what we saw: a house with beds for each of us, multiple kitchens and plenty of room for activities! We were right on the historic seawall, which meant we could hop in the ocean almost anytime we wanted.
During the days, we took introductory classes about everything Coastal Restoration–learning about the various habitats that make up the Gulf Coast, restoration techniques, and various projects currently taking place. TxCC members participated in a ton of different activities throughout the course, including a professional luncheon that had representatives from multiple organizations throughout the Texas Gulf. All of these folks were invested in restoring the coast, and it was really beneficial to be exposed to them and their points of view. We did some real work too and spent a few different field days pulling and planting native plants in the salt marsh. Everyone seemed to appreciate this, since we ended up on the front page of the Galveston Daily News! The most entertaining day though was when our CEO came down to see how we were doing. We all went kayaking that day with Artist Boat where we also got to reach deep inside ourselves and find our inner artists to create a few water color paintings!
All in all, I feel that this opportunity will be a highlight of my TxCC experience. It has inspired several of our members to look into that line of work in the future. We all got a chance to learn a bit more about restoration and how we could get more involved, as well as just have some good old fashioned fun at the beach during our free time.
Stephanie Ferguson – Emergency Response Team Crew Leader