Meet Arizona Conservation Crew #139! Back in March, members of the crew were tasked with revegetating a section of Chiricahua National Monument, a 11,985 acre site features extensive hoodoos and balancing rocks and offers hiking and camping for visitors. The crew removed gravel and washed it to purge any invasive species before replanting the area with native species.
To learn more about what local conservation crews are all about, we spent a day with Arizona Conservation Corps Crew #139 in Southeast Arizona’s Chiricahua National Monument.
How did you come to love the outdoors?
Luke: As a kid, I would look at hills in the distance, and I would always wonder what was on the other side. Finally, when my mom let me hike over, I discovered a completely different ecosystem. That sense of adventure never left... I just wanted to know what was over the next hill, and then the next hill.
Do you feel that working on and for the land has given you a deeper appreciation for these places?
Katie: Working in Saguaro National Park on the back side of the Rincon Mountains, that was a place I probably would never have gone if it weren’t for this position. Each day on the trail I found something new to appreciate.
What was your biggest surprise doing this kind of work?
Isabella: Being here and seeing all the work done by the CCC in the park nearly a century ago… It’s really impactful to know that we’re continuing that legacy, building for the future, and hopefully our work will be appreciated by generations to come.
What do parks represent for you?
Laurel: Trails and Parks represent my childhood. Growing up camping and hiking in many National Parks and the enjoyment I got out of those experiences, along with the lessons of respect and “leave no trace”, has really had a big impact on me. Whenever I visit a new park, the nostalgia for my childhood comes rushing back, and that’s echoed throughout my life.
What role do you think organizations like AZCC play, beyond just maintaining and conserving land?
Sergio: Working for AZCC teaches you discipline, community, and who you are as a person. I grew up as a city kid who loved going outside, which to me was the little park around the corner. My first night with this crew was the first time I ever went camping. I remember thinking to myself, “huh...so this is what the earth is like.”