Crew Leader Training in Ecological Restoration, 3/31/2012-4/01/2012


My scout patrol leader had provided me with a solid foundation in forestry restoration practices which I knew would assure success in my quest for another merit badge. He was a man of few words. “Go forth and transplant some bushes!,” he demanded.

Armed with the intellectual tools and wisdom that my best friend’s older brother had bestowed upon me, I set out in search of flora in need of a new home. In a gloomy, well-shaded spot beneath a canopy of cedar and fir, I found an overcrowded family of sword ferns that beaconed from their bedding of dark, rich soil. “Pick me!,” they seemed to say.

So, I gently unearthed the one that seemed most deserving of liberation. With the care one gives when holding fine china, I carried it slowly to the edge of a partially washed out trail. It was the perfect place for fern freedom: in a bright, sunny location near the beach nestled in loose sand. Its roots would surely help stabilize the slope. I planted it and started a routine of frequent watering. Only once did I forget to water it, for four consecutive days.

By the end of summer camp my little fern didn’t look too happy. Alas, “freedom’s just another word for [no more apical meristems] left to lose.” But, fortunately, in a flash of uncharacteristic foresight I had made a backup plan: Archery merit badge.

A few years later, I learned that people do doctoral dissertations in forest ecology.

You won’t need a PhD to volunteer on upcoming CMC and Wildlands Restoration Volunteers projects, but you will learn a lot if you attend one of the Crew Leader Training in Ecological Restoration sessions on March 31 – April 1.

To learn more visit or email Doug Yohn at


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