Buenos Aires Work Project
Banwr, March 11-13th…sun, grasslands, pronghorn, endangered ferruginous pygmy owl, illegal aliens, or “undocumented immigrants”, drug smugglers, habitat lost,  habitat improved,  & AWF…pick your story!

We had a very good turnout for this southern Arizona project this past March, over 30 people when you included BANWR volunteers, and what a cross section of groups…AAF, AWF, Sierra Club, ASU and SASA to name a few!  If you’ve not seen the grasslands at this Refuge, it’s worth the visit. There are also pronghorn to see, as we saw almost 40 head, but unfortunately, there are also illegal border crossers too. 

Some of these “undocumented” crossers come over in the cover of darkness; however some are brazen enough to do it during the middle of the day.  Fifteen crossed almost right through campSaturday morning wearing large back packs (drugs?), the Border Patrol wasn’t around. Leaving camp on Sunday, another 6 right off the road, this time with small back packs (apparently folks looking for a better life, albeit illegally).  We quickly found the Border Patrol a couple minutes later, but it was too late. 

What does that mean for habitat?  BANWR is crisscrossed by miles of what looks like “cattle trails”.  They are everywhere, and they are worn down hard. No one knows for sure, but many acres in total must be lost due to these “trails”.  These folks go where they please, but we had to stay out of an area and change our campsite several times due to an endangered owl!

Enough of the soap box…we had some excellent cooperation with the BANWR & AWF folks during the weekend!  Many thanks to Don Farmer and Duke Mertz with the AWF for helping us coordinate the event, and to Bonnie Swarbrick at BANWR, for aiding in the logistics.  We successfully modified and cleaned up a few miles of fence, but we only touched the surface at this Refuge.  We were told there are 250 miles of interior fence the Refuge manager wants out! 

We could work this country for a couple years, while working no other projects.  The AWF goes down a couple times a year, and there is some opportunity there for us too.

 Many thanks to the volunteers that made the trip!  They were also the first to see the debut of our new AAF Trailer!

AAF folks…Jim, Tracy & Jimmy Unmacht, Dave Laird, Sue Foote, Joe Bill Pickrell, David Brown (all from Phoenix), Jerry Guevin, Jen Laughlin (both from Scottsdale), Connie Taylor (Mesa), Larry Audsley (Tucson), Kelley Prasad (Glen Mills,  PA).

AWF folks…Don Farmer, Lynn DeMuth, Duke Mertz, Fred Hawthorne (Gilbert), Paul Webb, David Bozarth (both from Scottsdale), Daniel Doran (Tucson)

ASU students…Elaine Anthonise, Tarah Baker, Jason Tull, Paula Piedrahita, Aaron Chavez, Jonathan Handka III, Thomas Ekren, April Florey, Emily Wunder, Merry Spradling, Scott Lillie, Laura Sloane

BANWR Volunteers…Gabrielle Robinson (Feeding Hills, MA), Tyler Van Fleet (Cape Elizabeth, ME)

2005 BANWR Project Photos


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