The City of Boulder Colorado, Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) Department has been doing a lot stone work on their trail crews. Hilary Dees (DSWA-GB Level II, Instructor, and Stone Trust professional member) was hired near the beginning of 2018 as a Trail Stewardship Program Lead. Since that time she has been sharing dry stone wall knowledge with her co-workers. She got a training site for city employees set up and worked with The Stone Trust to set up certification test days for DSWA-GB certification. A huge achievement in a short amount of time.
In mid November Brian Post traveled to CO as the examiner for the tests. In all 21 people tested for Level 1, and 80% were successful in getting certified! This is a huge achievement for a brand new test site. All of the those testing showed great skill in working with stone, and due to some early snow storms some had gotten very little practice time on a DSWA-GB type free standing wall. With this training site now set up it will be a huge asset in training new and current employees, as well as for future certifications.
To the best of our knowledge this is the 1st DSWA-GB test day for all public sector employees in North America, and the 1st DSWA-GB certification to take place in Colorado. It is a tremendous affirmation of the value of the DSWA-GB certification for stone workers here in the USA. Thank you to Hilary Dees for making it possible!
The number of folks who tested (over 3 days of testing) also highlights the demand for certification opportunities in the West. While this training and test site is likely to remain for city employees and associated personal, there are certainly thoughts of something more in the future.
While there Brian also gave a wide ranging presentation on dry stones with a focus on how the dry stone walling skills and knowledge can be applied to modern day trail work. Attended by over 50 people from the City of Boulder and area trail crews it was an actively engaged audience and got a lot of people thinking about building stonework to last.