Authored by Jacob Barrett

As with the beginning of every year, we have set our goals high for 2017. The first half of the year is our busiest and most important time for the land management team. Our three main focal areas at this time include applying prescribed fire, preparing fire lines and planting our donor site, which is an area of land we use to plant native groundcover and to collect seed to be used for groundcover restoration on the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve and partner lands. In order for us to achieve all that we have set out to accomplish, we hired two full-time seasonal Field Technicians. Our land management techs typically stay with us from the beginning of January through late June. Finding quality land management technicians is no easy task. In the two months that the positions were open, we received applications from all over the lower 48. After reviewing many resumes and making several reference calls, we extended offers of employment to Casey Davis and Jonathon Bolton.

Casey and Jonathon were the top applicants this hiring season. They both exceled in the interview process, had solid references and demonstrated a strong desire to learn about groundcover restoration and the crucial role that fire plays in the Longleaf Savannah ecosystem. Casey is native to Douglas, GA. He is currently taking a semester off from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College where he is working towards a bachelor degree in natural resource management with an emphasis in wildlife management. He first became interested in Orianne’s land management program from a talk Brannon KNight, Orianne Stewardship Coordinator, gave at the Georgia’s State Chapter of The Wildlife Society meeting two years ago. Being a Georgia native, Casey wanted to be a part of the Orianne crew to further expand his knowledge of the process of fire on this landscape and to make valuable connections within the tight-knit prescribed fire community. Jonathon is a Richmond, VA, native. He attended Randolph College where he earned a bachelor degree in biology. Since graduating he has worked with Gopher Tortoises in Florida and with Desert Tortoises in Nevada. Jonathon applied for our position because he wanted a chance to work with The Orianne Society and to work with fire in the Coastal Plain of Georgia.

Our land management Field Technicians are expected to work in adverse conditions (i.e. hot, buggy, humid, etc.), and assisting with prescribed fire applications throughout the Fort Stewart/Altamaha River Corridor is our technicians’ primary role. Our foremost goal when burning throughout any fire season is firefighter safety. Burning in the natural fire season in the 100°F+ summer heat wears on a body fast. If we do not keep our people safe, we cannot achieve our ecological goals. Aside from assisting in donor site planting and fire line preparation, our technicians will also aid in herbicide applications and collect forest stand data. We are very excited to have these guys as a part of our team and are looking forward to a safe and productive year.

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