Dam Removal

Faces of Restoration: Erin Rodgers modifies the make-up of a restoration site

This Faces of Restoration is a bit different from our typical posts highlighting a great contractor or construction partner(s) who help us complete our on-the-ground projects all across the country.

Today, we are highlighting Erin Rogers, TU’s Western New England project coordinator, whom has had to rethink what a work day at a restoration site looks like.

By Erin Rodgers

Early on in the pandemic when school and daycare were all shut down, I still had a culvert project finishing up I had to do some construction oversight with kids in tow.

They’re at the super age when construction and building are just about the coolest thing in the world (Alice is 5 and Simon is 3). They knew that I ‘fix streams to make them better for fish’, but didn’t really know what that meant.

The new culvert had been set already and they were there with me when the contractors (Marion Excavation out of Hadley, Mass.) were working on the in-structure bedforms/boulder placement and then releasing the coffer dam.

The contractor let them sit in the excavator and honk the horn (I never knew they had horns. They’re very loud, which makes sense.) and they sat rapt by the whole thing while I helped with boulders and washing in fine materials.

Now, toward the end of year, Simon’s daycare is back open and Alice is in kindergarten two days a week. The other days she splits between going to work with Dad or doing her remote learning at home with me, where we set up on the couch, she does her Zoom class meetings, I do my Teams work meetings, and the cat supervises.

It’s by no means perfect and there are a lot of hard days, or even just hard hours — times when I have ‘just one more email’ I have to get out even though she “neeeeds a snack.” The kids are disappointed that they can’t go do field work with me all the time now. But I can rest assured that they know more about sediment transport, hydraulic capacity and stream connectivity than most other pre-k/elementary school kids. And depending on how much longer the pandemic goes on, I’ll be teaching Alice some GIS so I can outsource my map-making for grants (I’m kidding! Sort of…).

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