Trip to Arizona

In April, I had the opportunity to go to Phoenix, Arizona for a meeting between my team at the U.S Forest Service and the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management (DFFM). I am part of the Cooperative Forestry Team and the team engages in annual in-person meetings to connect and have conversations with each other about their respective programs. I was very grateful to be invited as it was also my first-time meeting my team in-person! I’m working remotely so I have only been able to talk to my mentor and the state coordinators through online meetings so it was nice to finally meet in person and have the chance to talk a little bit more comfortably.

I was able to learn a lot about the programs in DFFM and how the Forest Service supports them. It was also a different experience to be in-person for a meeting because everyone is in one room and you have actual faces looking at you while you’re talking, but it felt nice because everyone was present in that moment and be together to talk about how our programs can be better with everyone’s help.

Another opportunity I had while I was in Arizona was the chance to visit two ranches. My team had arranged two site visits as we would be in the area to check out the property for potential projects. I have never been to a ranch before, so it was so interesting to see what type of landscape and plants they had. The first ranch we visited was called the Yavapi Ranch within the Upper Verde River Watershed. One thing that I learned about this ranch is that there was coal mine within the property that made the ground red due to the properties of the rocks from the coal mine. I’ll attach a picture to show you how immense the coal mine was and the effect it had on the surrounding land.

The second ranch we visited was called the Bar Triangle Ranch. It’s a site that has been passed down from family generations. One thing I learned about this ranch is that the landowner created the barn on site by hand when he was younger, and it was used to housed cows for a long time before they were moved to another barn. It was really cool to see how stable it still looked like even though it was built years ago. I will also attach a picture of the barn and the landscape of the land.

What really resonated with me from visiting these ranches was the effort that both landowners are showing to conserve their private lands from development. Urban development has always been the enemy to natural lands but to know that these landowners are taking active steps to conserve their land and show appreciation to the natural lands was a great thing to see.

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