Smooth Wire...Barbed weather

The annual trek to Unit 21 took us north to the Dugas Road again on Saturday April 23rd.  We had 35 volunteers ready to take on the task.  Our two pronged approach to this project had half our group head to some fence work in the morning, and the other half to a "juniper field" that needed some grassland restoration. 

The "fencers" became "climbers" right out of the chute, as this fence stretched up a good size hill.  By late morning, these folks had the fence stretch cleaned, and reworked, and they headed to join the juniper cutters.

When they arrived, the old AAF chain saws were buzzing, and the junipers were taking a cutting!  Hand saws and loppers were also in motion, as our tree cutting efforts had folks ranging in age from 11 to 82 years old!
Who said kids and seniors couldn't help out on conservation work projects?

While the efforts saw some larger trees fall, the biggest impact was won, and had, with the smaller encroaching trees getting cut.  These prairie invaders needed to be stopped, and on quite a few acres that partly cloudy day, they were.

We saw pronghorn too, a nice touch to the day’s work!  All told, we saw close to 20 animals in the area, depending on the car or caravan you were in. 
As we neared the end of the day, the wind picked up, and the predicted storm front was at hand.  We hoped we'd be spared, but we weren't...Life Member Al Sue's tent tried to "roll away" but was saved by some fast action!

Our dedicated cook crew of VP Dave Laird, Director Sue Foote, and Tracy Unmacht were working feverishly to keep the flames going.  The cheese crisps flew off the grill just as the rain started coming down.  As folks took cover, appetites were eased.  Steaks began sizzling, and the corn was set to boil.

The rain ebbed and flowed, but the folks were fed!  The meal was topped off with an AAF first, ice cream with assorted toppings!  A sweet touch to a successful day!

The intermittent pouring had a negative campfire effect...most folks headed home.  A stalwart few moved from fire to cover for a couple hours before turning in to a night of rain, wind, and the coup de gras at 5 am...hail. 

Mud and water made a messy exodus Sunday morning!  A couple travel trailers spent an extra day waiting for dry roads and Sue's car was flinging mud like nobody's business!  A big thank you to Jed Nitso for helping us get the AAF trailer "freed" and also to Joe Moody and Al Sue for hanging around and helping out!  

Thanks to all our volunteers!

Jim, Tracy, Grace & Jimmy Unmacht, Amber Ford, Troy Christensen, Ray Blanchard, Rob & Kelly Chabak (Phoenix);  Sam Harvey, Eric Sanchez, Joe Moody, Tom & Brett Ramey, Oscar Oland (Glendale);  Randy, Ty, & Kyle Brandt (Peoria); Life Member Al Sue (Scottsdale); Jed Nitso (Tonto Basin);  Dana Bayer (Apache Junction); Mayor Don Johnson (Gold Canyon);  Fred Hawthorne (Gilbert);  Jim McCasland, Eugene McCasland (Prescott);  Richard Ockenfels (Mayer); Jeff Davis, Jon Hanna (Mesa);  Scott Mackey (Tempe);  Jake Fousek (Camp Verde)

2005 Apr. Unit 21 Project Photos



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