My name is Aaron Reporter-Harshaw. For this first Co-op quarter, I am working with a non profit environmental organization called Arc of Appalachia based near Rainsboro, OH, about 15 miles west of Hillsboro, OH. The organization consists of under ten employees that work year round acquiring old and debilitated farmland and converting it into sanctuaries for wildlife as well as restoring native lands to their original forms as much as possible.
Out of the 6 employees, we have two office workers, two groundskeepers and two cleaners. Due to the lack of staff the organization hires on seasonal interns to help with with grounds-keeping and invasive plant removal. That is where I come in. My usual workday begins at nine when I clock in. Most days, I have assigned areas that I have been tasked with working as well as a list of tasks that need to be completed for the week. Every area I have worked on my Co-op has been visually breathtaking!
I have learned that Ohio has some of the most beautiful wildlife sanctuaries that I have ever seen. Despite that, most of my days consist of removing invasive plants which can be very exhausting. I get frustrated because the work is also very tedious and I sometimes think that even though I my work is efficient I still wonder if I am making an impact. However I am told that in the past, The concentration of invasive plants was so high I couldn’t even imagine. That is a beautiful thing because, as I keep spending time in this area, I can really get a good visual representation of how resilient nature really is.
My workday usually ends at 3 p.m., so Ihead straight for the shower, exhausted. I am in charge of managing my time as a worker which i am very happy about. My supervisor Tim Pohlar checks in every other day or so to gauge progress and assesses the areas to clear more efficiently. So far my time here has been very meditative and eye- opening. I am very thankful for this experience!