For two years and nine months I have nurtured native trees within the Livermore-Amador Valley watershed. Many of these trees I helped plant and keep alive during the two year drought; they are my green “children,” my baby trees. I share this surrogacy with all of my current and past co-workers and with the thousands of volunteers that have helped us. Together we brought verdant life to weedy man-made canals and streams. We planted native trees and removed invasive species. We cleaned up debris and trash clogging our waterways.
The Living Arroyos Internship changed the trajectory of my life. During the first year of the program, I went from studying art to being an environmental major. Living Arroyos gave me invaluable first-hand experience with local ecology and environmental restoration. I gained a glimpse into the world of watershed and resource management. Now, my education is taking me up to Portland, where I will continue to pursue environmental studies. I will miss so much about this program and it is hard to say farewell.
A new generation of interns will begin their journey this fall, guided by the seasoned program coordinator Felisha Walls. The program is in good hands; take care of our green “children.” My dream is that the program continues to grow and that programs like Living Arroyos begin to sprout in other water districts.
So here it is, goodbye: Stanley Reach, Stoneridge, Arroyo Seco, Galaxy Court, Bluebell and many other sites I have worked on.
Goodbye: valley oaks, coast live oaks, cottonwoods, buckeyes, walnuts, box elders, elderberries, willows, and Oregon ash. I know I will see some of you up in Oregon but you will be distant relatives to the trees I know.
Lastly, goodbye to my coworkers and to the many volunteers I have met.
“So long and thanks for all the fish.”
– Joseph Steelman (Living Arroyos Lead Intern)