Dedicated Volunteers Continue Their Good Work
Midway through volunteer field season the monsoon rains are falling, rivers are running red, the desert is greening, mountain wildflowers are blooming and volunteers from across the country are busy on the Plateau with dirty hands and enthusiastic spirits getting good work done with us!
Volunteers joined us at North Leupp Family Farms on the Navajo Reservation in May to plant corn, beans and squash using traditional farming practices. Join us for the harvest festival in September!
Our work in Utah is in full swing. In addition to our recruited volunteer trips, the volunteer program sponsored our third AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) crew for eight weeks, working with the Utah Forests and Utah Wildlands Programs. Thanks to the hard work of the NCCC crew, Utah volunteers and our Utah staff, we closed eleven-and-a-half miles of roads in Dixie National Forest, surveyed over twenty miles of streams for potential beaver restoration on the Fishlake and Manti-La Sal National Forests, built five range cage exclosures on public and private lands in the Manti-La Sal National Forest to assess grazing impacts from cattle and elk, and removed invasive elm, Russian olive, Russian thistle and kosha from a 300 yard section of Mill Creek in Moab. Read a blog by our AmeriCorps Youth In Action intern, Lindsay Martindale, about her work in Utah and watch a video the NCCC crew produced about their experience with the Trust.
Volunteers from the Jaywalker Lodge drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Colorado joined us once again to take down and rebuild half a mile of barbed wire fence at King’s Pasture in Utah around critical riparian habitat. Check out a blog about the group’s experience.
Our second-ever Community Education Series event in Utah was a great success. In July, nearly fifty people came to downtown Moab for “La Sal Mountains to Canyonlands National Park: Our Water, Our Wildness.” In partnership with Canyonlands Watershed Council, we discussed the important role of beavers in canyon country, our efforts to expand Canyonlands National Park, our Greater Canyonlands film project, and a Moab watershed mapping project’s role in fighting climate change and water scarcity. We are excited about reaching out to local communities and the Volunteer Program’s continuing growth in Utah.
Our annual Budding Botanists training was held in July and brought together aspiring botanists from the region to learn native plant identification skills and share our passion for plants. The first two flora inventory trips for Vermilion Cliffs National Monument were a huge success as we hiked to remote springs and locations on the Paria Plateau in search of rare plant species. Over 300 plants have been collected thus far, and we have documented new locations for several rare and endemic plants in the monument!
The Fort Valley Weed Warriors worked hard this summer to combat invasive plants along Fort Valley Road in Flagstaff and removed knapweed, bullthistle, cheatgrass and filaree from eight acres of this historic corridor.
If you haven’t heard the exciting news yet, the Volunteer Program is going to have a much needed new food packing and gear storage facility at the Homestead for the 2013 field season! Thanks to generous board members and several members and donors, we are nearing our fundraising goal and will begin construction on the new barn this fall. The building will not only serve an expanding Volunteer Program, but will build our capacity to expose more people to the importance of public lands stewardship, and to inspire the next generation of conservationists and advocates for the Colorado Plateau’s world-class public lands. Check out the rendering of the new facility (above), and if you are interested in donating to the barn fund, you can donate online here – just choose Volunteer Program under Gift Designation. If you’d like to volunteer on one of our “Barn Workdays” or find other local Flagstaff area volunteer opportunities, please visit our trip schedule, and apply now!