WESPEN Online Order Form print this page
US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

DESERT NWRC: Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex Honors its Volunteers

Region 1, June 22, 2012
Service staff and members of the Friends of Nevada Wilderness pitch in to build the Birdsong Loop Trail on the Desert NWR.
Service staff and members of the Friends of Nevada Wilderness pitch in to build the Birdsong Loop Trail on the Desert NWR. - Photo Credit: n/a
Bruce Lund spends time with two young visitors at the Moapa Valley NWR.
Bruce Lund spends time with two young visitors at the Moapa Valley NWR. - Photo Credit: n/a
Desert NWRC Project Leader Shaun Sanchez addresses complex volunteers during the recent recognition luncheon in Las Vegas.
Desert NWRC Project Leader Shaun Sanchez addresses complex volunteers during the recent recognition luncheon in Las Vegas. - Photo Credit: n/a

By Dan Balduini, Public Affairs Officer

More than 60 people who regularly give their time and energy to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) as volunteers were recognized at the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex (NWRC) volunteer appreciation luncheon this past May in Las Vegas. In fiscal year 2011, volunteers logged more than 22,000 hours on the four Desert NWRC refuges.

The importance of volunteers to the success of the mission is evidenced by the amount of support they give to Desert NWRC staff in a number of areas. They assist the Visitor Services Program on the refuges and support Service environmental education initiatives in their communities; help with camp hosting, maintenance, habitat restoration, and backcountry construction projects; serve as citizen scientists and preserve the complex’s history by digitizing old documents; and provide wilderness and cultural site monitoring.

Numerous awards were handed out to individuals who chose to spend a great deal of their own time in service to the wildlife of southern Nevada. Here’s the fiscal year 2011 breakdown:

• 25 volunteers each donated more than 100 hours on various tasks.

• Cultural site stewards donated 1,330 hours.

• Site steward Ken Amundsen spent more than 500 hours on the Desert NWR checking on things at the Hidden Forest Cabin and other remote areas on the refuge. The hike to the cabin is a 14-mile round trip with a 2,000-foot elevation change.

Royal and Janet Arnold volunteered 3,300-plus hours at the Moapa Valley NWR. Without the Arnolds, the Service would not be able to open the refuge to the public. Royal handles all the maintenance, while Janet takes care of visitors.

Bill Scharf donated 1,250 hours at the Corn Creek Station (Desert NWR) serving as a maintenance assistant.

Bruce Lund donated more than 500 hours presenting interpretive programs at all four Desert NWRC refuges. Lund, who was named the Interagency Volunteer of the Year (Southern Nevada Agency Partnership), also spearheaded the survey of dragonflies and damselflies on all four complex refuges. He recruited citizen scientist volunteers to form his survey crew.

John Pike volunteered more than 800 hours as a camp host at the Pahranagat NWR.

Desert Complex Project Leader Shaun Sanchez summed it up well, telling the luncheon gathering, “Your efforts bring to the complex more than the equivalent of 10 full-time employees. We could not do what we do without your help.”

The Service’s partners in southern Nevada also provided considerable amounts of volunteer time to the Desert NWRC. The most noteworthy organizations are the Friends of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex, the Red Rock Audubon Society, the Friends of Nevada Wilderness, and Wildlife and Habitat Improvement of Nevada.

Contact Info: Daniel Balduini, 702-515-5480, daniel_balduini@fws.gov