GreenCorps: “A Day in the Life”

Mark Waldo

My name is Mark Waldo and I’m from Milwaukie, Oregon. I was in the Army for 3 years as a Combat Engineer. This is my first time with the VetsWork GreenCorps, an AmeriCorps program of the Mt. Adams Institute. Through this program we are working with the Umatilla Vet Crew in Ukiah, OR doing fuel reduction and getting the needed training for wildland firefighting.  It it sounded like a neat program, and I thought I’d check it out.

This blog shows what we do every day when we work on our fuel reduction projects.


This is me (in the front) and Frank (with the beard) another GreenCorps member about to start our day and cut down some trees. Frank is cutting and I’m swamping, which means I make some nice piles of all the stuff he cuts. We’re trying to get 10-20 feet spacing between the trees. The burn piles are 4 x 4 foot and chest high. We usually run a tank of gas through the chainsaw and then take turns swamping, this way we conserve energy because believe it or not, cutting does get pretty tiring.


This is me wearing all the personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to run a chainsaw. This includes a hard hat, 8-inch high leather boots, long sleeve shirt, eye protection, ear protection, gloves, chaps, and a positive attitude!


These are a few of the trees we slaughtered today. By removing the small trees, the remaining trees have more opportunities to grow and we are able to minimize the fuel if a fire were to pass through this area. All in all, I think it was a pretty successful day. Now we top the saws off with fuel, head back to our crew bunk house, and clean the saws. This is pretty much the rundown of a typical day on the Umatilla Vet Crew.

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