At the beginning, participating in this volunteering was mainly to seek adventure, get to know beautiful landscapes, and work for the cause of environment protection. After finishing my term I have to say that I surely got all that and even more, I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to have participated in it. Being immersed in nature is a very rewarding experience, and places such a Los Padres National Forest and Randall Morgan Sand-hills Preserve, let me have direct contact with a lot of different plants, animals and trees. Participating in projects for the protection and improvement of those natural areas feels amazing, there is not better office to be working than those landscapes! I also practiced my English a lot, talking and sharing experiences with people from the USA and around the world. Now I feel a lot more confident speaking and listening to English.
Participating in this rewarding experience requires also a lot of effort, hard work and patience, that because you are working out of your comfort zone and not having all the commodities you might be used to. Nevertheless, you are also developing bonds with your peers, enjoying time together, sharing thoughts, experiences and working together to reach the goal of the conservation project. This program made me realize how fast big projects for restoring nature could get done, if a group of talented people is completely involved working towards an objective. People around me were very open and friendly, I made great friendships out from California.
Before and during projects, I was taught how to use different tools necessary to do the jobs, as there are a lot of them it is a great opportunity to learn new things. Cooking and having dinner with the others in the evening, was one of my favorite times of the day. This because I love cooking and sharing day stories with the rest after a hard working day. I really enjoyed lunch time because I was able to contemplate and peacefully eat my meals surrounded by nature. On projects I completed various tasks such as: planting native plants and removing invasive ones; spreading seeds of native vegetal species; brushing weeds and trees improving the trail condition; axing, shoveling and compressing dirt to recondition, ampliate or build new trails; and removing trash from protected areas. We also had to be aware of not harming native vegetal or animal species while doing our work, this was great because we could contemplate species that exist only in this part of the world!