“The fence is meant to keep the burros out.”
Locals Involved in Arizona Wild Sheep Conservation Effort
Source: Rapid City Journal
The crew that built the guzzler.
HOT SPRINGS – The Wild Sheep Foundation’s (WSF) Midwest Chapter earlier this year sent a crew to Arizona to learn how to build a guzzler – a device designed to collect and hold water for wildlife.
Hot Springs’ Matt Rippentrop, Billy Morrow, Tyler Morrow, Teejay Atwood and Sam Simunek were part of the team, and according to an article by Ryan Brock, in WSF’s magazine “Wild Sheep,” this experience taught everyone involved some larger lessons.
Organizations working together can truly accomplish more work and impact more wildlife, writes Brock, while at the same time having a tremendous impact on young people who are learning about conservation.
In March, a coordinated effort by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, WSF’s Midwest Chapter, the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, the Arizona Bureau of Land Management and a little help in funding from the Wild Sheep Foundation along with Cabelas led to another successful year for youth getting involved in building a guzzler.
Eleven students and five chaperones from the Midwest Chapter, including the Hot Springs crew, flew to Nevada to tour Hoover Dam, then they continued on to Fort Mohave, Arizona, where they spent two days building a guzzler with the Silver Peak project.
The build involved shuttling youth and other workers up the steep terrain by helicopter – the guzzler was built on a saddle between two ridges.
“It was the best experiences I have ever had in my whole life,” said Tyler Morrow.
One of his most memorable things was the flight on to the mountainside where the work was being done. This was Morrow’s first memorable flight – he flew at a year old, but doesn’t remember it – and he recalled how the helicopter said Grand Canyon on it, how he got to sit in passenger seat.
As soon at the crew arrived in their camp, Sam Simunek, Teejay Atwood and Morrow began to explore the area.
Morrow described his chores for the project: “As a group, we dug fence holes to keep the wild burros out of the area where the guzzler was,” Morrow said. “The helicopter brought the materials for everything on to the mountain. We had to measure the height of the horizontal bars on the fence. This will keep the burros out, but still allow the sheep to get in.”
“When we got there, there was already a hole for the basin that holds the water for the sheep,” Morrow said. “The watering hole was gravity fed. A few people filled in the spaces between the three storage tanks. When we left the area, the project drain wasn’t complete, but some other people stayed behind to finish the drain.”
Morrow thanked all of the volunteers on this “awesome” trip, with a big thank you for Rippentrop, the Arizona Game and Fish, the volunteers on this trip, and the Wild Sheep Foundation’s Midwest Chapter.
Atwood also had great memories of the trip.
“I was very excited to participate in the Arizona guzzler project,” Atwood said, recalling the long ride to the Minneapolis airport and the unexpected Hoover Dam tour, the “biggest substation I have ever seen… covered with power lines.”
“We stayed in a camp at the work site and I got to meet a lot of interesting people,” Atwood continued. “I learned guzzlers function through a rain-fed gravity tarp system. My main job was digging fence post holes. I also mixed and poured concrete. The fence is meant to keep the burros out.”
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