Last updated: June 19, 2016
Another great day with the natural resource department! The day started off with Hannah Siroky, Dan Batha, and myself changing out hummingbird feeders at Montezuma castle. We took the feeders from the trees and put them in a box to be washed later. New feeders were then filled with sugar water and hung back up in the trees. There were a few hummingbirds patiently waiting in the trees, eager for their food to be put back in its rightful place. The National Park Service puts the feeders out so that the birds can be banded for research purposes.
Next, Dan, Hannah, and I went to Montezuma Well to take a picture of weeds in the pond. We did this because someone from NAU is trying to identify the weed's species. We then changed out the memory cards of multiple cameras near Beaver Creek, behind the well. The memory cards are changed out every couple of weeks, when they get too full. There have been many animals spotted by these cameras including mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, and deer. Hannah taught me how to exchange the cards and how to work the camera, and thankfully it wasn't as complicated as I expected!
After our tasks at Montezuma Well were completed, we moved onto Tuzigoot where we replaced the memory cards of more cameras. Many of the cameras take some hiking to get to and I enjoyed it so much because I got to be submersed in lush, backcountry environments that most people don't get to see. Once the cameras had been taken care of, we moved onto watering plants. We rode in the Mule to get to our destination, which is a large area of red dirt that houses weeds as well as the native plants that we were sent to water. The plants we were watering have chicken wire around them to keep them safe from hungry animals;they are there as a project to restore the area from cattle degradation. There were numerous plants that needed water, with varying species. There is also a whole other plot of plants by the picnic area that needed water as well, and since there is a bit more shade from the tall trees, there are even more species of plants.
Lastly, after all of the plants were watered and happy, we headed back to the natural resources office to work on Mexican Garter Snake traps. The traps are similar to crayfish traps, with the whole idea being that once a snake slithers in through the small hole it won't be able to find its way back out. To ensure the traps were ready for use we had to cut paracord in three foot increments and then burn the ends to avoid fraying. We also cut pieces of pool noodles in four inch increments. The paracord and the pool noodle are used to keep the trap afloat so that the snake can swim in;the paracord can be tied to a stick on the shore to keep the trap up while the pool noodle will actually go inside the trap. Thanks to everyone at natural resources for an amazing day as well as an amazing week!