We really can all work together. That was the lesson from a daylong bus trip Wednesday with the Butte County Resource Conservation District. About 40 of us piled into a tour bus and were shown the types of projects that are helped by the RCD.
The name Resource Conservation Agency pretty much sums it up an agency that strives to conserve resources. Not resources like bank accounts or stock portfolios. Rather, the basic needs of humans, plants and animals.
It was a long day and more than a dozen presenters had shared information.
We pulled into the last stop where the Butte County Association of Governments big-wigs gave a talk about vernal pools that had been created to mitigate for the construction on Highway 149.
Resource Conservation District director Pia Sevelius summed up the days presentations by telling us how the RCD can serve to bring together different agencies for common goals.
It was the end of the day, and we were tired.
The bus was huge and a locked fence made it difficult to whip the bus around. A county supervisor and the head of a watershed conservancy sitting behind us joked that they hoped the driver didnt get stuck in the mud.
Of course, we got stuck in the mud.
After several futile attempts, our driver, Marlin, stopped spinning the wheels in the mud and the 40 of us piled out.
There were about 30 men and 10 women now standing on the side of the old frontage road that parallels Highway 149.
This could have been pure chaos. Any time I have had car trouble in a parking lot, it seems like men flock from all corners of the pavement to help. Everyone will have a different diagnosis and jockey to be the leader.? I only imagined what it would be like to have 40 people trying to solve this dilemma.
Perhaps it was because Pia had just given the speech about how all of these different agencies could work together.
People scattered around the work site looking for wooden planks to place under the tires. Tommy grabbed a piece of wood and started digging out the tire. One guy from the Natural Resources Conservation District scouted around and found a jack (which later sunk into the mud under the weight of the bus). One gal found a pile of straw and she and another man tried to wedge is around the tires.
Meanwhile, no one threw a tizzy fit nor complained about the delay. There was actually a lot of camaraderie as we all cracked up about the situation.
At one point there were about 20 men at the front of the bus, rocking it back and forth. Marlin the bus driver, said they did a great job because he was sitting in the drivers seat and it felt like a roller coaster ride.
Meanwhile, Pia phoned her office in Oroville and had her co-worker come over in a minivan to shuttle people back to our cars.
Much later, as the cloudy sky over the valley started to glow pink as the sun set, an enormous tow truck arrived with a winch big enough to tow in a large ship.
Pia should be proud of the somewhat disappointing end to her excursion, because the people involved proved they really could work together, even if in the end what was needed was an enormous tow truck.