Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Southwest Region, November 7, 2006
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In October 2006 there were seven hundred-seven (707) participants who took part in on-site EE programs.  Like October in fiscal year 2006, all the programs in October fiscal year 2007, were all on-site programs.  Some of the highlights of the month were: a program on medicinal & edible plants, and Bison Ecology that was presented to eleven (11) students from Oklahoma City University; a trip into the Special Use Area with a group of thirty-five (35) Nature Photographers who came from points all across Oklahoma.  Among the members of this group were Mr. Don Emmrich and his wife Nancy.  Mr. Emmrich is a world renowned landscape photographer and a member of the International Photography Association.  EE Specialist Randy Hale and Nick Plata were very fortunate and honored to participate in a flag retirement ceremony with a Troop of Boy Scouts from Wichita, Kansas.  A program for seventeen (17) members of the Sierra Club from Norman, Oklahoma that covered Elk ecology and the identification and uses of medicinal & edible plants; a presentation for thirty-five (35) students from Rose State College that included information on the Prairie Dog as a keystone species. This program also included a night hike which made the students aware of the changes in sensory perception brought on by darkness.  Langston University participated by bringing out their Natural Resources Management students.  This was a two and a half day workshop that included a class on the trapping, identification, and release of mammals by Midwestern State University graduate student Brandon McDonald, and a plant identification class and ecology discussion while hiking with Dr. Mike Dunn from Cameron University.  Twenty-three Comanche Tribe students participated in our Native American EE Program to help build and strengthen their relationship with, and respect for, Wichita Mountains; EE Specialist Randy Hale and Nick Plata are partnering with Langston University, Oklahoma City University, the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, and Cameron University in developing a comprehensive environmental workshop that may become an annual event.  


October 26, 2006 was the date of the 36th Annual Bison Auction at the Wichita Mountains.  Over 400 people attended this year’s auction.  There were a total of 74 registered buyers from five different states bidding on 102 bison.  Several area schools turned out for field trips and attended the auction.  Teachers use the auction and sales information to create different curricula for their students.  Many volunteers come together to make auction day a success.  The Lawton Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Friends of the Wichitas are annual partners supporting the Refuge on auction day as well.  


The Bugling Elk Tours were offered by the Friends of the Wichitas during September and October.  Over 300 tour participants learned about elk ecology and management through these series of programs conducted during the elk rutting season.


The Wichita Mountains search and rescue team was activated on four incidents during October.  A twelve-year-old male broke his ankle and lower leg while hiking at Forty Foot Hole on the 3rd and was carried out in the litter basket.  Another female broke her ankle on Elk Mountain and was carried out after dark on the 22nd.  One school group of 30 got lost at the far west end of the Charons Garden Wilderness Area on the 14th.  They were escorted farther west across private land to a county road.  Two 50-year-old men got lost on Mt. Lincoln the 11th and were suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration.


A four hour EEO training on Reprisal/Retaliation Discrimination was presented to the refuge staff October 5th by Mr. Alvin Dillings, Chief of Employment Complaints and Adjudication Division for the Department of Interior’s Office of Civil Rights. 


A steady rain fell on October 15, which resulted in 3.30 inches.  This was much needed rain and hopefully is the beginning of the end of a very long drought.   


On October 24, the Refuge along with Lawton Public Schools, and Friends of the Wichitas hosted a Bison Centennial coordination meeting at the Refuge Visitor Center.  The meeting featured presentations on the history of the bison re-introduction to the Wichita Mountains in 1907 and highlighted the role that local, grassroots support played in bringing bison back to Oklahoma.  Additional presentations highlighted the significance of the re-introduction to Native American tribes and the role that the Wichita Mountains and bison played in the United States presidential history through with Teddy Roosevelt.  Colors were presented by the Buffalo Soldiers, Ninth and Tenth Cavalry Association and the evening closed with the Comanche Buffalo Society performing the Buffalo Dance.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov
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