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DESERT NWRC: Desert Complex Honors its volunteers
Pacific Region, July 19, 2013
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Tom Butler (left) acknowledges applause from the crowd as he is recognized for volunteering more than 6,000 hours at 11 national wildlife refuges, including time he’s given to the Moapa Valley NWR. At right is Amy LaVoie, manager of the Moapa Valley and Pahranagat NWRs.
Tom Butler (left) acknowledges applause from the crowd as he is recognized for volunteering more than 6,000 hours at 11 national wildlife refuges, including time he’s given to the Moapa Valley NWR. At right is Amy LaVoie, manager of the Moapa Valley and Pahranagat NWRs. - Photo Credit: USFWS Photo
Volunteers and Desert Complex Staff wave to the camera during the 2013 volunteer recognition dinner in Las Vegas.
Volunteers and Desert Complex Staff wave to the camera during the 2013 volunteer recognition dinner in Las Vegas. - Photo Credit: USFWS Photo

By Dan Balduini

The Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex held an appreciation dinner recently to recognize its volunteers for the important work they do to further the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s mission. Some 65 Desert NWRC volunteers and a dozen staff representing the complex office and its four refuges attended the event.

Volunteers assist staff with everything from visitor services and environmental education to camp hosting and maintenance. The Desert NWRC Volunteer Program statistics for FY2012 are impressive, as volunteers contributed 21,714 hours — accounting for more hours than10 full-time employees typically work in a year. The volunteers’ accomplishments include:

• Hours planting native vegetation: 1,575
• Hours removing invasive species: 424
• Hours maintaining campgrounds: 1,135
• Hours monitoring sensitive & endangered species: 1,350
• Hours preserving and monitoring cultural resources: 497
• Hours supporting operational capacities: 6,768
• Ounces of native seed collected and planted: 281 (17.5 pounds)
• Linear feet of illegal roads decommissioned: 4,456
• Linear feet of channel cleared of cattails: 2,472
• Linear feet of post and cable fence installed: 512
• Number of native trees, bushes, etc., planted: 2,496

Several volunteers were singled out for reaching milestones in numbers of hours donated to the Service over the years:

• 34 volunteers donated over 100 hours each.
Bruce Lund reached the 1,000-hour mark volunteering at all four complex refuges, with most of his time spent on the Moapa Valley NWR.
Judy Fightmaster and Pat Weidknecht digitized more than 5GB of data — scanning information from handwritten refuge archival documents. Both women serve as cultural site stewards, while Pat also monitors burrowing owls in the Las Vegas area. She donated 161 hours of her time to the three projects.
Bill Scharf, who provides maintenance assistance and serves as a cultural site steward on the Desert NWR, has logged more volunteer hours than the Service has documented. However, since the complex’s volunteer coordinator came on board, Scharf has racked up nearly 1,700 hours.
• Resident RV volunteers Martin and Deb Hooker gave a combined 913 hours to the Desert NWR.
Tom Butler, who volunteers at the Moapa Valley NWR and did so previously at 10 other refuges across the country, reached the lifetime mark of 6,000 hours.
• Pahranagat NWR campground host John Pike’s total donated hours added up to 1,113.
Dan and Charlotte LeVar gave 234 and 175 hours respectively to the Ash Meadows NWR.
Patricia Shaw, Jennifer Mercadante, Pat Weidknecht, and Bob Furtek combined to provide 501 hours monitoring burrowing owls at two locations in the Las Vegas Valley, while Richard and Carol Cantino (Red Rock Audubon Society west branch) and others racked up 519 hours doing the same in the Pahrump area.
Hal Fairfield volunteered a total of 1,320 hours at the Ash Meadows NWR.
Brad Gore contributed 580 hours working on a high-tech southern Nevada soils and climate related GIS database. He continues to work on the project in FY2013.

The Service’s partners in Nevada supply a great deal of manpower and other support throughout the year. They include the Friends of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Back Country Horsemen of Nevada, Wildlife and Habitat Improvement of Nevada, the Red Rock Chapter of the Audubon Society, and Friends of Nevada Wilderness.

Dan Balduini is the Public Affairs Officer at the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex located in southern Nevada.

 


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



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