The final week of the program found the crew at Agua Fria - Riverbend site. It was timber work skills week for the crew. SCA Alum and work skills instructor, Tanya Henderson, taught the team the finer points of working with timber. Hopes were high as we set out to built a timber retaining wall to stop soil erosion. The juniper provided a tough obstacle as far as getting the wall built. In the end we joined together several logs and made large check steps as an alternative to the retaining wall. We also built a rock retianing wall and resotred the erosional area. It was ice to be back in a familiar place for our final work week. The crew is looking forward to graduation next week.
This week found the team going back to Copper Mountain where we started building trail there earlier in the season. We went back to finish what we started and then some. We built a good section of trail our first day out. Almost double the amount of trail we were building at teh begining. We also came accross a mine on our way back to camp. It was fenced, but we were able to look down into it. There was still an old ladder inside the mine that the miners used to use. It was a reminder of the many uses of the land.The rest of the week we hiked to the other end of the Copper Mountain loop. It was hot and the most hiking we encountered all season almost 4 miles a day. The trail was much more rockier on this section and progress was slow. By the end of the week all were exhausted ready for some rest and relaxation back in Phoenix.
This week we went to Ajo,Arizona to visit the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. On our first day there, we met up with our contacts from Fish and Game and went out to a wild life water tank where the endangered Senoran pronghorns can drink. There was still heavy equipment tracks everywhere from the installation of the watering hole. We covered the tracks and spread out vegetation to rehab the area and make it look more natural. We made short work of the project and thoroughly impressed our agency contacts.
The next day we went out and brushed an old original road as the reroute wasn't in accordance with the Wilderness plan. WE made short work of what the agency thought would take all day (there seems to be a theme here!) Along the way we encountered border patrol and had a discussion about the politics of managing border lands between different agencies. We really got to witness first hand how agencies are dealing with illegal immigration. During this week we saw several endangered species including the Pupfish and Senoran Pronghorn.
This week we traveled to El Centro, California. We were welcomed by the local BLM staff and were shown where we would be working for the week. Our first location was in the Yuha Desert. The first day at this location we did some exploring and observed several geoglyphs in the area that were pretty awesome. During the week we helped with park maintenance by putting up signs to mark the Juan Bautista De Anza National Historic trail that runs through the Yuha Desert. For the rest of the week we were at our other location where we were shown artifacts and archaeological sites in the area by the BLM's archaeologist. We also did restoration work covering illegal off road tracks and planted creosote. On Friday, we made the long journey back to Phoenix to do blog writing and time sheets.
Wet Feet and MIMS 
We started this work week at the Audubon center where we learned how to do MIMS and the woody plant line transect. We then finished our day at Phoenix College like we usually do. On Tuesday morning we headed out to Agua Fria National Monument River Bend to collect data using the methods that we learned at Audubon. We also did the ripple to pool ratio on the river to find out more about the residual pools. The monitoring we did will help us find out the health of this riparian habitat which in turn will help management make decisions on this land. Finally, on Friday we went to Table Mesa to rehab some old roads. We restored 3 roads and even exceeded the quota for this project!
Chainsaws Galore! 
We started this wonderful week at school where we visited the Audubon Center to examine the leaf packs we previously planted. We found some gnarly critters that made their home inside those packs. We found different kinds of macro-invertebreas which included dragonflies and masonflies. Then we went to the PC campus and updated our resume to prepare us for our future. Bright and early on Tuesday morning, we left Phoenix for the cooler climate of Prescott to work on the Circle Trail at Prescott National Forest. We met up with Jason, head of the trails & wilderness, who guided us to our work site where we began to work on taking out trees, logs, bushes, and some limbs with our chainsaws. Each day we got further and further with our work, the hikes were getting longer but the work was coming out amazing! Who knew that holding a chainsaw for 5 hours would make your arms so sore! Thursday night, after a long hard day, Mel and Tony took us into town for some pizza since we did such hard work. Before we left Friday afternoon we found that we had cut an 8 ft. corridor at just over a half a mile of trail. Not a bad week!
In the beginning of the week, we started class at the ASU Polytechnic Campus where we learned how to capture reptiles through pit traps. This was a field day for our biology class. We found an Arizona pocket mouse in one trap and released it shortly after. We examined four species of lizards: zebratail, whiptail, side blotch, and desert spiny. They had fallen into the pit traps, and the research gives us information about the population of reptiles in this desert area.
On Tuesday, we began our Wildland Firefighting classes: S-190, S-130, I-100, and L-180. We are now all certified as Wildland Firefighters. Our instructors Ken, Dan, Rob, and Dean spent four days teaching us about wildland firefighting. Dean made us do 50 push-ups to wake us up. He definitely made us pay more attention. We spent three full days at the BLM in classes, learning everything we could.
On our field day on Friday, we learned how to create a fireline. We learned about the tools used by the firefighters and how they customize their own tools. We also got a tour of the fire truck and Matt, Stephan, and Rocky got to ride on it. We then had a chance to practice how to properly deploy our fire shelter. It was an extremely hot and uncomfortable situation. We hope to never have to use one in a real fire emergency.
This week we journeyed to Granite Mountain in the Prescott National Forest where we had the luxury of having our gear packed in on horses and mules! We had a two mile hike in from the trail head to our camp site. On our first day we surveyed the area that we would be working in, and hiked almost to the very top of Granite Mountain where we were greeted with an amazing view of the forest. For the next two days we spent our time working on individual and group projects such as making steps,drains, all of which entailed moving gigantic rocks! We were instructed by the legendary Sam Commarto. We had accomplished much in the short amount of time that we had been there, but sadly our time was cut short due to inclement weather conditions. So Thursday night we were packed out and made our way back home to Phoenix. We ended the week doing some spring cleaning and gearing up for out halfway point- spring break! Stay tuned for wild land firefighting escapades in the coming weeks!
The beginning of the week found the team taking the first test of the semester at Phoenix College. All studied hard and most felt they did well. A park ranger from Lower Sonoran Nat'l Monument came in and spoke for career development class. We then traveled on to the White Canyon Wilderness south east from Phoenix to use our newly acquired GPS skills. Armed with Trimbles and Garmins we mapped out 2 trails and drove on some pretty gnarly 'roads'. The following day we headed north from Phoenix back to the Copper mountain loop to do a day of trail building picking up where we left off a few weeks ago. This particular part of the trail was scattered with rocks so progress was slow. The final day of the week we went to the Horseshoe Ranch in Agua Fria Nat'l Monument to partake in an inter-agency workshop on range land monitoring. The crew found it really interesting what goes into managing the Agua Fria lands. As we were leaving the ranch one of the vehicle got a flat tire. The team was able to finish the tire changing 'class' that they were unable to finish a few weeks ago. All in all a long week all over Arizona!
New hit song for the week: A tribute to Rebecca Black's "Friday"
The Wolf Pack gathered in the pre dawn light to set out for the Prescott Nat'l Forest to the north for our chainsaw training. A quick stop to say hello at the BLM and we were on our way. We arrived in Prescott at the Fire Center with storm clouds and cold air blowing. A major snow storm was predicted to come through the area. Instead of camping like our original plan our agency contacts arranged for us to stay in a lodge on the edge of town. Everyone was grateful for all the modern amenities such as electricity, heat, toilets, and beds! The next morning we awoke to a light snow covering the ground. For many of these native Phoenicians, this was their first time seeing snow falling or having their first snowball fight. Playing and working in the snow was fun but very different for some. After completing our classroom work for S-212 and some work trade for our wonderful lodging we were ready to get out and use the saws. For nearly all this was their first time ever holding a saw. Some said it was scary but really exciting after getting use to the saws.
New hit songs from the week: "99% Muscle, 1% Feelings"
This week started off with the team getting their personality reports from Phoenix College. These reports also matched each member with several jobs that would be suitable for their personality types. Several on the crew took turns being leader for the day and implementing their leadership styles. The Wolf Pack built 300 feet of trail at the Audubon Center leading over to Rio Salado. Wildlife was abundant even in town. Some sightings included lizards, quail, scorpions, rabbits, roadrunner, egrets and many more. We thought the trail would be easy to do only 300 ft over 4 days but we were wrong. The area was once a landfill for the city of Phoenix so as we cut into the hillside to make our trail we found ourselves removing tires, concrete, re-bar, and other trash. This proved more difficult than actually building the trail.
The new song that arose from this week of town trail building: "Creosote After The Rain
Till next time...Wolf Pack out!
This hitch started out by meeting our work skills instructor from the frozen depths of Maine, Karl. He taught the team about the proper use of tools and their functions. We learned about grade on the trail and how to lay out and flag a new trail. We set up camp and made bomber dinners. After our newly acquired knowledge of trail design and layout, the following day we got to sink our teeth into cutting some new trail. Over the following 2 1/2 days we cut 987 feet of new trail. For some of us we worked harder than we knew was possible. The weather was a tad warmer than the previous week but the wind threw in a little excitement factor. We saw some great wildlife which included a short horned lizard. At the end our week our work skills instructor taught us proper tool maintenance and care. We packed up camp and headed back to the warmth of Phoenix. Thus concluded the team's first 4 night camping trip. All were excited for the elusive yet glorious hot shower! Till next time!
This hitch started out with some shuffling. The recent rains flooded the area where the team planned to do pole plantings. We took an education training trip to BioSphere2 near Tucson,AZ. We learned of and witnessed 5 different controlled biomes within the facility. The following day we went to Table Mesa, north of Phoenix, and did some restoration work illegal jeep roads. No one was going to pas through there once we got done! Finally on Thursday the waters had receded and we made it out to River Bend in the Agua Fria National Monument to do our pole planting. We went above and beyond and planted all 95 poles (trees) in one day instead of two. We camped at Aqua Fria,which for many of these Phoenicians turned out to be one of the coldest camping experiences. Fire, long horn cattle, coyotes, and the frost were our friends for the evening. On Friday we packed up and headed back to Table Mesa to plant 98 more trees along a sensitive restoration area along the river. We also put a fence around these poles, as cattle and OHV traffic tend to hinder restoration efforts in this area. The team band, Brown is in the Dirt, also hit the song writing hard and is looking to add new songs to the debut album forthcoming. Till next time!
Our second week began with being introduced to Ryan from Aerie Backcountry Medicine. He taught us how to apply our first aid training in all types of situations. We learned to hold c-spine, splints, all the way to buddy carrying the injured out of harms way. With our CPR and Wilderness First Aid certifications we were well on our way to being prepared for our LNT trip. We furthered out team building in the Superstition Wilderness of the Tonto National Forest. On our five mile hike and overnight we learned about leave no trace and map navigation. For many of us this was our first backcountry experience. We also learned and taught each other about the seven components of leave no trace. We could see first hand the impact we made and the impact of other previous visitors. The Wolfpack roamed the desert with an eagerness to learn and experience all the Superstitions had to offer. All in all it was a successful LNT trip. The new hit single from Brown Is In The Dirt came forth from this trip. The new chart topper is called “Shake Your Bean Spoon”. Till next week!
Let The Training Begin! 
Our first week in the SCA we all started off getting to know each other and establishing relationships. We learned the finer points of the the SCA and did some fun team building. We also got all of our cool SCA gear: boots, hats, shirts, backpacks, water bottles, and SCA memorabilia. We took a tour of the BLM and Phoenix College. We met our teachers and some of us got our student ids. We had our field biology, career experience, and environmental ethics classes. In our Biology class at the Audubon, we went on a nature walk where we learned how to do nature journals, learned some names of plants, and saw a lot of animals.
We established our group name, Wolfpack. We also established our team band name, Brown Is In The Dirt. Stay tuned for more awesome SCA regales and hit singles from Brown Is In The Dirt!
Ahmad Carson 
My name is Ahmad Carson, but my friends just call me Carson. I can always lend a helping hand when it is needed. I’m a quick learner and forever ready to experience new things I haven’t done before. Things I do to pass the time are going out, hanging with friends, and playing video games. I plan to make the most out of every activity we do and have a good time. I’m really excited about getting wilderness first aid and C.P.R. certified.
Myriam Solorio 
I am 100 pounds of pure muscle. Despite all this brawn I am an animal lover. I appreciate nature and everything our world has to offer. I like to challenge myself physically, mentally and emotionally. I like learning new things so I can grow as a person. I love laughing until I cry and just enjoying the moment. I have lived In Phoenix most of my life. I am ready to explore the state I have lived in for so long and see its beauty in a different light.
Stephan Davis 
My name is Stephan. I graduated from Franklin Police & Fire High School. I was in the fire program there. I learned many different things during my four years. I played football as well. Some skills or qualities I bring to the team are leadership, laughter, and a open mind to new things people. I'm excited about going camping and all the new stuff I’m going learn during this program.
Cody Primm 
I was Born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, I moved to Arizona in 1995 when I was almost two years old. I enjoy hunting, fishing, and football as well as may other things that have to do with the outdoors. I believe my skills from hunting and fishing will help me out while on our hitches, as well as my ability to help other people aquire my skills. My goals for this experience are taking all the different skills I learn and use them in my future career.