Arizona Elk Society 5A Work Project

This past weekend my son Ryan and I went up and participated in the Arizona Elk Society's (AES) unit 5A work project.  The project Ryan and I helped out on entailed clearing young conifer trees out of a meadow, removing some fence, and erecting an inner fence around a Bebb's Willow tree inside an enclosure to keep wildlife out. 
After arriving late Friday night and setting up camp, we woke up early Saturday morning to rain showers.  Rain is typical and very welcome this time of year so we donned our rain gear and went to the main AES camp for breakfast, the morning safety briefing, and to be assigned to a work team. 

We soon arrived at our work site (a lush green meadow being overrun with conifers).  Armed with loppers and saws, our group cleared the meadow of trees and saplings the forest service approved of us taking out.  The trees suck moisture out of the ground that feeds the downhill riparian areas and overtime doesn't allow as much water to make it downstream into the major tributaries. 

It rained the first half of Saturday, but I don't think I heard anyone complain about the much needed moisture.  It sure beat being down in the valley where it is over 100 degrees this time of year. 

We finished up that afternoon and headed back to camp to get some archery practice in.  Ryan didn't seem fazed by all the work he did and shot his bow a bunch of times. 

We then headed off to the main dining tent for a tasty steak dinner provided and served by the AES.  For dessert we had our choice of root beer floats or ice cream and brownies with chocolate syrup.  It started raining just as dinner was served, and kept it up for the next several hours.  
The AES puts on a great work camp and because of that and the wonderful volunteer support, they had a full camp.  Ryan was excited because he got a cool AES hat.  We stuck around socializing as long as I could keep my eyes open, and then retired to our new Reliable Tent and Tipi Teton tent.  I don't think it took long at all for Ryan to fall asleep.
The next morning came quick and after a great tasting breakfast burrito (fruit loops for Ryan) we set off again for our day of work.  Sunday morning we headed to the other end of the meadow we were working in Saturday to finish clearing trees and put up a fence around a Bebb's Willow tree.  
We finished up around noon and headed back to camp.  Ryan and I made met some new people and made some friends on this trip.  Ryan had a great time and asked several times if we'd be able to go back next year.  The AES put on a great camp and everything went smooth and was well organized.  I'd like to express my thanks to them for the opportunity to give back a little to the unit which has given me so much enjoyment over the years.  If you've never participated in a work camp like this one, do yourself a favor and volunteer.  It is a lot of fun and a great way to network with other hunters.  Thanks Arizona Elk Society!


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