Volunteer Stories: Inspiring People, Beautiful Landscapes

The last of the golden cottonwood leaves shimmer in the low late-fall sunlight, marking the end of another field season. There are thousands of stories we can tell about the committed individuals joining forces to do good work for the landscapes we love, but here are a few stories that affirm the value of what we do.

Barn-Raising Campaign: Nearly There!

Rendering of proposed Volunteer Program barn

Our barn-raising campaign has been a great success, and we are VERY close to reaching our goal. This barn will be a new gear and food packing facility to outfit our volunteer trips.  A heartfelt thank you to all who have contributed—we appreciate your support! If you would still like to help us, you still have time to donate. We are not just building a barn; we are building a conservation community for the Colorado Plateau. Feel free to contribute online, or make your checks out to the Grand Canyon Trust, specifying “Volunteer Barn Project” in the memo line.

The Budding Botanists Visit Utah

Utah Budding Botanists
Photo by Kate Watters

Local “weed warrior” and volunteer Dorothy Lamm joined the Flagstaff Budding Botanist volunteers in Utah to assess aspen stands, and she poetically describes the forest and grazing issues that she learned from Mary O’Brien. Don’t miss the beautiful photos of that trip. Want to know more about Budding Botanists? Listen to our volunteers reflect on their work and the community it provides.  A huge thanks to all of our Utah volunteers for early mornings of data collection, long days of work and travel, and late evenings of data entry.

Water is Life: Thoughts on Running and Culture

Water Is Life
Photo by Kate Watters

Back in Arizona, our volunteers maintained trails and supported the ninth annual “Water is Life” run on the Hopi Reservation, where hundreds of runners unite to celebrate the sacred role of water in Hopi life. Trail maintenance guru and volunteer Tony Taylor shares how these ancient trails become run-worthy. Also, our AmeriCorps intern Andrew Belus not only ran the race but also reflected on the Hopi philosophy of running that he learned from Bucky Preston, Hopi runner and organizer of the event.

National Public Lands Adventures

National Public Lands Day Volunteers
Photo by Kate Watters

On September 28th, 175,000 volunteers celebrated National Public Lands day by getting their hands dirty on 2,206 different public land sites across the United States. Trust volunteers were part of that collective force, removing a half-mile of barbed wire fence from the House Rock Valley to give pronghorn better mobility and access to food and water. We saw a herd of pronghorn and watched three condors released into the wild, bringing the current population of this endangered species to seventy-seven birds in Arizona and Utah.

The best part of the weekend was celebrating volunteer Ken Myrea’s 77th birthday by eating cheesecake and watching the full moon rise over the Echo Cliffs from the front porch of Kane Ranch! Not many people would elect to hike ten miles and haul heavy rolls of barbed wire out of the desert on their birthday, but Ken declared that he was the luckiest person in the world. Check out the photos!

Three Cheers for AmeriCorps!

We are very grateful for the amazing service of Lindsay Martindale and Andrew Belus, our AmeriCorps interns. A partnership with Northern Arizona University Youth in Action allows local nonprofits like the Trust to create opportunities for young people to explore conservation. Many of you have spent time with Lindsay and Andrew in the field and know that they added dynamic, youthful energy to our team. While we are sad to see them go, we wish them the best and know they have bright futures before them. You can read Lindsay’s farewell blog, as well as visit our staff page and help us welcome our 2013 AmeriCorps interns, Paul Bindel and Amanda Smith.

Thank you ALL for a great season: we’re looking forward to the next!

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