Thirteen enthusiastic students participated in the 2018 Youth Engaged Stewardship (YES!) program at Las Cienegas NCA. After learning about the history of LCNCA and area inhabitants, the students spent several days working at the
Hummel Ranch, located a few miles south of Empire Ranch Headquarters. They measured, photographed and documented the ranch structures, removed vegetation from the ranch house, and cleared brush to make the area surrounding the structures “fire safe.”
They visited the Sacaton flats at Gardner Canyon to learn of past work by YES! groups and identified a need to record quantitative data to document the success of erosion mitigation efforts. They also surveyed one LCNCA prairie dog colony
and contributed data to a formal report with retired Arizona Game and Fish Biologist, Robert Fink. At “Bill’s Pond” Dennis Caldwell worked with the students to transplant native aquatic plants, improve habitat along the edges of the pond, and create a water flow structure to help aerate the pond, and built overwintering structures for the endangered
Chiricahua leopard frog.