Monday Morning Crew
Working and Bonding at its Best
If you pop in at the PCA shed on Monday mornings between 7:30 and 8 a.m. from April through November, you’ll find a buzz of activity.
When I visited on July 31, the guys were organizing the equipment for the morning’s tasks. Several planned to finish removing and disposing of downed branches from the storms the week before, while others got the blower running to clean debris off the trail. Yet another group was going to complete the job of power washing all the light poles to a shiny silver gleam. Last week, some of these ambitious guys worked both Monday and Tuesday to get caught up with trail tasks.
Clay Shaffer, PCA Deputy Coordinator, and Wayne Tillotson, Crew Leader, decide what jobs need to be done for the week and then put the men to work. “The adventures begin when Monday morning rolls around,” Clay says. “All the men pitch in with whatever needs doing.”
Wayne Schambow, who has been working on the trail since its inception, says, “I enjoy cutting up and moving the downed trees. It’s a lot of fun.”
“Working on the two reclamation areas is a challenge,” says Spider Fromader. “We just can’t get ahead of the weeds—but we try.”
The members of the Monday Morning Crew are considered the “heavy lifters” of the four crews, and they enjoy using tools. Clay says Joe Miller made the new wooden map holders for the trail and now the trail maps dry even when it rains. All the tools in the shed get put to good use for the mowing, planting, cleaning, trimming and whatever else needs doing that week. Several of the guys mentioned that the Gator is especially helpful and appreciated. According to Scott Budd, one thing that would make taking care of newly planted trees, flowers and shrubs would be a large tank with pressure to pump water more easily. He says that right now “watering things is messy and time consuming.”
According to trail volunteer Gene Weber, spring is the most challenging time because there is so much to do all at once. “New invasives are springing forth and need to be removed,” he says, “along with winter downed trees and tree limbs. New plants and shrubs need to be planted, trailsides need to be cleaned, as well as benches and picnic tables.”
The Monday Morning Crew got its start in June of 2014 after an EF2 tornado ripped a path through the south side of Platteville, destroying homes and UW-Platteville buildings, as well as uprooting trees. Many of those trees were along the trail, necessitating the removal and disposal of 50 loads of downed tornado damaged trees.
“We just emailed everyone we knew and asked them to forward on our ‘call for volunteer help’ and they just came!” said Gene Weber, one of the original crew members.
In 2016, the trail was finally paved and lighted, and two UW-Platteville interns took the helm as the first Volunteer Coordinators: Alexis Turman, a horticulture major, and Dan Brumm, reclamation. They directed the Monday Morning Crew in the addition of kiosks, benches, and bat houses and also readied the trail for the grand opening in September of 2016.
When I asked these fellows why they volunteered, the unanimous answer was that they enjoyed the bonding and good-natured banter. Dave Carnahan says, “I do this because it is a lot of fun and because of the camaraderie.”
Mark Schell says, “It’s fun to be able to contribute to such a wonderful area resource, make it look good—have pride in the trail.”
Thanks to the organizing efforts of crew member Scott Budd, the guys meet once a month on Wednesdays for lunch at Red and Deb’s. Of course, we all know that they use this time to discuss trail maintenance and future projects.
Monday Morning Crew Members: Jeff Becker, Steve Beisner, Scott Budd, Dave Carnahan, Spider Fromader, Bob Gates, Tom Loeffelholz, Joe Miller, Wayne Schambow, Mark Schell, Wayne Tillotson, and Gene Weber. (Gordy Gimski recently left the crew to move to Green Bay.) If you are interested in working on the trail and bonding with the crew members, fill out a volunteer form.