Last updated: July 14, 2016
Today was spent at Montezuma Well working on Interpretation. Before it got too busy I walked the drainage ditch to the end of the Park Service property with Tim Yates. The ditch carries the water overflow from Montezuma Well. The walk along the drainage ditch is very scenic;the temperature is much cooler from the tall shady trees and the whole area is full of life, from dragonflies to mule deer. The ditch carries beautiful clear water and houses numerous species of aquatic plants. Once we reached the end of the ditch we got to see some goats that were housed in an enclosure on a farmer's property. Along the way we found the remains of a couple dead skunks that must have been killed by a predator such as a coyote, bobcat, or mountain lion. We also saw a herd of deer foraging through the trees.
At the beginning of the day there were about six junior rangers and two park service employees working on catching various organisms behind the well for the junior ranger camp. The park employees brought along microscopes to give the kids an introduction to science, and also because kids love to look at things under microscopes. Each junior ranger was armed with a net that they used to swipe into the drainage ditch, hoping to catch anything from damsel fly larvae to water beetles. The kids were so excited every time they caught something and I was glad to see that they were all having such a great time. They then left to go work on building walls just how the Sinagua did, which I think is an outstanding activity!
The Arizona Youth Conservation Corps came along later with the Park Service Natural Resource crew to catch more dragonfly larvae in the creek. It seemed to be going well as they had a decent amount of dragonfly larvae when I came by. While everyone was taking a break there was a huge black spider that found its way into a YCC kid's net. No one knew what kind of spider it was so everyone made sure to keep their distance. The Verde Valley houses so many unique organisms, you can always see something new!
I really enjoyed interpretation today as there was a constant flow of visitors with great questions. It's really fun to go beyond the simple questions with visitors and get into in-depth conversations. I like being able to meet people from all over the world and talk to them about where they are from and what they are up to in Arizona. The beauty of Montezuma Well never fades;every time I look around I am amazed. The desert surroundings mixed with the oasis of green trees and water is part of what makes Arizona so unique. I couldn't have asked for a better day!