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Volunteer Experiences

  • 2010 GIS Project

    We arrived at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge on May 10 after stops in Austin and Dallas. This is our first visit to the Wichita Mountains in the Spring. The Mountains are adorned in green and covered with wildflowers. We have seen many of the animals tending to their newborns.
    We were assigned a 1986 Army Truck (M1008) acquired from Fort Sill. Our job here at the Refuge involves using a hand-held Trimble running ArcPad to collect GPS features along the boundaries. After a day of field work, we have learned how to upload the data to the server and reconcile it using ArcMap and ArcCatalog. We also correlate the pictures we take with the appropriate GPS features. It has been very interesting defining our project maps, downloading to the handheld GPS unit, gathering new data points and photos, and then uploading back to the workstation to see the revised data points in the GIS database. 

  • Favorite Memories of the Wichitas

    One morning we spotted this elk less than 100 yards from our campsite. During their fall mating season the bull elk serenaded us with their odd bugling sounds.
    Rush hour traffic here involves stopping for groups of bison or Texas longhorn meandering across the road or waiting while a prairie dog or coyote runs across. This 92 square mile free range refuge contains 700 elk, 650 bison and 265 Texas longhorn. So no telling when you will see a critter.

  • Getting to Know the Refuge

    Volunteering at the Wichita’s has been such a rewarding experience. Our last job was to document certain burned areas for human disturbance. We found old mining roads and mine tailings. We did a GPS reading and took pictures of everything we found. Later, we entered all this information on the ARC mapping system. We are from Oklahoma and I didn't know there was so much to see and explore in our own state.

  • Dinner at the Volunteer Kitchen

    Today we had a nice going away meal for our neighbors who will be leaving in 2 weeks. The Refuge has fixed up an old horse barn into a place for the volunteers. We have everything necessary – fridge, freezer, washer/dryer, stove and all brand new. So we decided to have our dinner there as well. While we were sitting there with both front and back doors open for the breeze an elk walked over and started eating leaves off the trees and then meandered off. I couldn't believe he got so close and in the middle of the day. It was so neat.

  • Meditation on the Refuge

    There are some days out here when your senses seem so alive, sounds and smells and textures rush together and fill you so completely that you can't say where you begin and they end ... the seasons, the land, and you.
    The wind, like a river, carries the seasons through the Wichitas, washing the landscape with diversity and an abundance of life…
    This is where an idea began long ago - to save a species and bring it home. This is where that idea lives today, in a Refuge for wildlife and the human spirit.
     

  • A Volunteer from Fort Sill

    Volunteering fills me with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Theses come from sharing my skills and knowledge to lend a helping hand. I have only been volunteering at the Refuge for a few short weeks but have already had the opportunity to meet and work with a diverse group of people who have taught me much about the area. The Refuge is a beautiful place to work; I look forward to the challenges and opportunities provided to me!

Last Updated: Jun 11, 2012
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