Tree Trimming, Ditch cleaning, and Camera Checking

July 18, 2016 Posted by: Collin Beckham

Montezuma Well was bustling with activity today as there was the Arizona Youth Conservation Corps, a youth group from The Nature Conservancy called "LEAF," the archaeologists Matt and Lucas, the natural resource crew, the Hopi masons, Tim Yates from maintenance, and myself. I went along with Fraser and a girl from the AZCC to trim trees and water plants around the park service property near Montezuma Well. We prepared ourselves with branch clippers, water buckets, and a huge bin of water that was placed in the back of the ATV. We then drove around a dirt road in the ATV and stopped to trim trees whenever we saw branches hanging too far over the road. We also stopped a few times to water native Arizona plants that are surrounded by chicken wire;the Park Service placed these plants as an effort to increase the population of native species. Everyone else worked on cleaning out the Montezuma Well drainage ditch.

After the trees were trimmed and the plants had been watered, it was time to venture into the wilderness to switch out the memory cards of the wildlife cameras. The camera checking crew consisted of the LEAF group, Dan, Hannah, and myself. It turns out the LEAF group was made up of high school students that came all the way from New Jersey! It was nice to talk to them and learn what life in New Jersey is like compared to Arizona. They made it sound like it was a whole different world! On our way back we saw a huge, beautiful gopher snake. It was lying right in the middle of our path, and then it slithered off into the brush when we got too close.

After all of the cameras had their new memory cards, I helped to plant seed balls in a small plot of land with the natural resource crew. The seed balls are basically just dried balls of mud with seeds inside;they consist of various species of native Arizona plants. To plant them, we scratched small divots into the ground with our shoes and dropped the seed balls inside, then slightly covered them back up with dirt so that they were only slightly visible. The finished product was a small plot of land full of little balls of mud;you couldn't step anywhere without almost smashing one. It was an active and productive day at Montezuma Well!


A collage of photos depicting NPS employees and volunteers at work.

Natural Resources, Montezuma Castle National Monument, Montezuma Well, Internship

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Last updated: July 18, 2016

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