Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My (for $) Work

Work, something I do everyday pretty much all day, but it doesn't feel like work when you love it. Taking care of my family and home is my primary and most important job, however I do also have a job for pay. I realized the other day that I've been blogging for 2 years now and never really discussed my job. I work part time for our state forestry agency.

Here's how it all began. I was 7 months pregnant and working for the local library as the head librarian. Upon graduating from grad school at Purdue (Hail Purdue!!) 9 months before I had not been able to find a job in the natural resources field. Being a complete book worm the library job was not exactly what I was looking for but ended up being great fun anyway. I was 2 months from having my Brenna and I'm contacted by my now boss to come work for him part time. My library boss jokingly said "you're the only very pregnant woman that has people hunting you down to hire you, most are getting fired at this point." Eager to be back in my field of study I began working for forestry and gave my notice at the library. That was 6 years ago in August. I had initially planned not to work at all once I had a baby, but part time work was acceptable. My boss and agency and extremely flexible about work timing, allowing to work when it was best for me even if that is 1:00am. I do quite a bit of office work, which I do enjoy, however I particularly enjoy my field work. I go out to sites where there has been a forest harvest (logging) and monitor the site for the application and effectiveness of Best Management Practices (BMPs), practices that are intended to reduce soil erosion after a harvest and protect water quality.

When we get to a site we take about a topographic map and split up the site, I look at the streams to make sure no logging debris (logs, limbs) are in the streams. So with topo in hand I take off to plot of land I've never been on and walk up and down the streams. These sites are generally 80 -200 acres and located in the middle of very isolated areas with little to no phone service. After being home with two small children all day every day being alone in a quiet forest is heaven. I've seen some beautiful things out there in the woods. I have been eaten alive by swarms of mosquito's, faced hundreds of spider webs. I've busted my butt hundreds of time, had thousands (seriously) of seed ticks smaller than a pencil lead on me. I've almost stepped on a very large timber rattler. Despite the risks and annoyances that can come from hoofing it through the woods, I love it. I love the plants, animals, the water, the quiet. I am very blessed to have this job.

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