Jamison Guice, Campus Carrier features editor
Jana Morning, Campus Carrier asst. features editor
Working outdoors is not so bad for Rollins Dairy team leader Sarah Mason, junior, who begins feeding the cows and heifers, a female cow that has not birthed a calf, as early as 4 a.m. Currently, Mason only works morning shifts, so she is often exposed to low temperatures. For example, Berry experienced temperatures in the low 20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the early morning hours from Feb. 15 to Feb. 19, according to timeanddate.com.
Mason gives two reasons as to why the cold does not often bother her. One reason is that she layers her clothes, and the second reason is that she loves her job.
“If you enjoy what you’re doing you’re not really going to complain too much about what the weather’s like,” Mason said.
Since it is more than just a mindset, Mason recommends for anyone that is outside in the cold weather to layer smartly, especially on windy days. When feeding cows in the pasture, Mason wears insulated overalls which help retain her body heat. She said she bought her overalls from the brand Bib, which is a little cheaper than Carhartt.
“Nobody wants to get up in the cold, but, also, when you get up in the heat you’re just going to wake up and sweat so neither one is ideal,” Mason said. “But, when you love your job, I’d accept it in any weather conditions.”
Even the Jersey cows love the winter, according to Mason. When the campus experienced snow flurries last week, the cows were “frolicking” and jumping around. She commented that they just really liked the cold weather because many of them acted “frisky.”
Like the cows, Mason recommends anyone unsure about the winter to just embrace the cold. She said that many people see colder weather as a reason to stay inside, but once out and about, it is not so bad.
A groundskeeper at the House O’ Dreams, senior Madison Moore is exposed to more than just the beautiful views. Moore said her supervisor, Greg Mason, typically tries to keep workers indoors when experiencing colder weather, but the groundskeepers still have to help prepare the mountain for winter.
While her duties vary day-to-day, Moore mentioned that some of her jobs include building raised garden beds, trimming trees and leaf blowing the road that leads up to the house.
“The best part of it is, once you really get moving or you’re really focused on trimming the trees, you don’t mind the cold as much because you’re warming yourself up,” Mason said.
Due to the high altitude, the mountain is very windy. When working outside, Moore keeps warm by layering clothes and drinking warm beverages.
“I am actually from Connecticut, so this helps the fact that I’ve been in the cold a lot,” Moore said. “I know that, like if it’s like 34 degrees, I need to wear like two pairs of pants.”
Moore said it helps that the groundskeepers typically work in teams because they are able to talk and distract each other from the fact that they are cold. She thinks this is the best way to approach cold weather – to go through it with someone else.
Moore started working as a groundskeeper last summer and said that once you start a job where you meet people that you like, it becomes more than just about physical labor.
She said that being a groundskeeper at the House O’ Dreams is a really fun job and that their duties typically vary day-to-day, even in the winter.
“I definitely think people shouldn’t knock grounds because, I know a lot of people freshman year they were like ‘Oh, I have grounds,’ Moore said. “They didn’t enjoy it, but I definitely think you need to, if you get the job, you need to try it out and like really see it for what it is.”
Senior facilitator and technical coordinator Brooke Hansbrough, sophomore, works at the Berry Outdoor Leadership Development course (BOLD) where people in pairs or teams can check out the course to develop skills in bonding. The course is located on main campus behind Roy Richards’ Memorial Gym, and Hansbrough describes what it is like to work on the ropes course during the winter.
“It’s a lot harder to climb when your hands are frozen,” Hansbrough said. “We have to be extra careful, and encourage students to wear gloves because if your hands don’t work then that’s usually bad when it comes to climbing.”
She emphasized her passion is not only for working outdoors but being around friends and coworkers to enjoy it with.
“I’m just an outdoorsy person in general,” Hansbrough said. “That was one of the things that drew me to come to Berry. I also enjoy climbing things and being adventurous with my job and really like my coworkers too. We’re kind of like a family in the way we interact with each other.”
While she still enjoys doing the BOLD course no matter the season, Hansbrough said she understands why the numbers of attendance are noticeably lower during the winter months.
Hansbrough encourages her friends and classmates to come out to the BOLD course and experience it for themselves. No matter what season, the course is open and ready for students whether they are experienced climbers or are looking to try it for the first time.
“It’s a really great resource we have that you can get out every two weeks and have some fun,” Hansbrough said. “It would be cool if there was more publicity and more people knew about BOLD and took advantage of its opportunities.”
Graduate assistant for the Gunby Equine Center, Maggie Sanford, is familiar with working around horses because she was also in a similar position during her Berry undergrad years. She currently works at the barn anywhere from three to five times a week, but Sanford said you can find her there even when she is not working.
Regardless of the weather, Sanford said the horses depend on her and her coworkers to get out to the barn and do the duties they would be expected to do any other time of the year.
“It’s not like ‘Oh, it’s below freezing today, the horses will be fine,’” Sanford said. “We can’t just do that. They have to be fed every single day.”
Sanford said sometimes the staff will place blankets on the thinner horses or keep them in the barn to stay warm during the colder days and nights. The biggest difference in the winter months is prepping at night in anticipation for what dropping temperatures might cause in the morning.
“We’re out here breaking up ice in water buckets and stock tanks,” Sanford said. “Our nightly checklist is draining hoses, dripping faucets and things like that if it is going to be below freezing. That way we have water the next morning for these horses.”
Nevertheless, Sanford enjoys what she does and does not let the chilly temperatures keep her from taking care of the animals and being outdoors on a regular basis.
“I enjoy my job no matter the season,” Sanford said. “Whether it’s super cold or really hot outside. At the end of the day, the animals need to be cared for and it’s just the nature of the job, but I love it.”