This past week, we spent Monday through Thursday in San Antonio, Texas. What started out as a typical, hot Texas work week, turned into an emergency situation. The first couple of days, we worked in the Acequias surrounding the San Antonio Missions. Acequias are irrigation ditches created in the early 1700’s to divert water from the San Antonio river to farmlands surrounding the Missions. Our job was to cut down and herbicide invasive plant life, such as Chinaberry, Ligustrum, Cat Claw and Arundo species. Our sponsors and Parks crew for the week, Eric, Greg and Mario were all very knowledgeable and helpful. All was well for the first two days – though hot and humid, the work was new and exciting because we were in an interesting and historic environment and we had chances to learn more about plant identification in areas outside of Austin.
On Wednesday, the work started off normally, but we soon were thrown into an unexpected situation. Right before lunch two crew members were using brush cutters to cut down Arundo in an overgrown area near the San Juan Mission. The vibrations from the brush cutters disturbed a hive of Africanized honey bees which caused them to swarm. The bees began attacking and we all ran to exit the densely covered Arundo patch as quickly as we could. The two members using brush cutters were hit the hardest and needed medical attention. Luckily, we were surrounded by great people who were really helpful and got everyone the attention that was needed as quickly as possible. It was quite the experience, but definitely bonded us as a crew and we will now be more aware of the dangers presented by Texas wildlife.
Molly Coffman and Calla Gentiles, ECorps Members