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Mud, Sweat and Tears: The Saga of a hard-working volunteer crew on the Kaibab by Marsha Petrie Sue

You’re in the Flagstaff mountains at an elevation of approximately 7000 feet, the month is August and you have the crazy idea that there will be no rain for the weekend.  Wrong. Mother Nature did not let the group down.  The good news was the weather moved through quickly, leaving beautiful skies and lush green landscape.

 

This fence project will improve an existing pronghorn movement corridor from their summer range on Government Prairie to winter habitat in the Ida and Babbitt grasslands to the north.  Data from currently collared pronghorn is used to identify key areas for modification

 

The 90 eager volunteers signed up for the work project in this beautiful Kaibab area – an excellent escape from the city heat. The campground easily housed the trucks, trailers and campers and as always, Chef Mary Keebler fed the group well, including Albondigas Soup on Friday night and on Saturday night,  the famous Tri-Tip beef steaks and all the accompaniments for all meals. And we can’t forget the great breakfasts either!

 

On Saturday morning, we broke into three work groups after a thorough briefing by Glenn Dickens and the amazing Game and Fish experts.  With many kids on board, safety was emphasized and specific assignments were made.

 

Then the rain came having been pushed in by the fury of the wind. A little break in the work was good and allowed lunch to be consumed.  The sun pushed through and back out to work. The mud was an added piece of the work project puzzle, but a little dirt and water mixture never hurt anyone!

 

With the sun in its full glory, these hearty volunteers ventured their way back to their three separate fence lines, each changed out the bottom rung of the barbed wire to smooth to aid the migration of the Pronghorn through the grass lands. Off came the jackets and the hard work continued resulting in a little sweat. In total, the three work groups modified four miles of fence.

 

Frank, one of the great volunteers, ventured into the main camp late afternoon and it was obviously upset. “I’ve lost my glasses and they are brand new!  My wife is going to kill me if I don’t find them.  I tore apart my tent, truck and even my tool box and didn’t find them.  Has anyone seen them?”  Our sweet Chef Mary said, “Do they look like this?” Watching someone go from total dismay to just about coming out with tears of joy was the cap to an excellent work project.

 

The evening finished up with story-telling, a 50/50 raffle adding to the AAF financial resources with nine new members!  The support of these amazing people cannot be stressed enough. Check the website at http://azantelope.org/Events_Calendar/events_calendar.html for upcoming events. You are always welcome!

 

And we can’t forget the 5th Birthday celebration of little Austin on Sunday.  He was a little embarrassed when we all sang to him, but rewarded us with a big smile when he put on his new AAF ball cap.

 

Some mud, sweat and tears is good for the soul and certainly is great for the Arizona Antelope population.  Thanks again to our hearty volunteers!

 

 

 

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