Volunteers needed to clean up after desert “litterbugs”

January 28, 2009

PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Department is inviting those that love the scenic outdoors to join in on a weekend desert expo camp out and cleanup effort on Feb. 6-8, approximately 20 miles west of Wickenburg, Ariz.

Although the purpose of the event is to clean up areas plagued by litter, the department is hosting many other activities for participants to enjoy, including sightseeing, geocaching, wildlife educational booths, off-highway vehicle information, and controlled BB gun target shooting for all ages.

Over the years trash has piled up, and besides being unsightly, the large piles of trash can be harmful to wildlife, a fire hazard and damaging to the landscape. Those that choose not to camp out are still encouraged to come out just for the day on Saturday and take part in all the activities. The cleanup site is located in the department’s Game Management Unit 42 at GPS coordinates 33 42.661’ N, 112 53.034’ W.

“We wanted to make this event fun for our volunteers,” said Craig Heath, event organizer and wildlife manager for the Game and Fish Department. ”So to get more families involved, we are designating cleanup areas as Œgeocaches‚ to make it exciting for volunteers to find the locations using Global Positioning System devices.”

Heath added, “The department’s Wildlife Center will have live wildlife displays on hand.

Participants can get up close and personal with some of these rehabilitated animals that live in this region, including a red-tailed hawk, a great-horned owl, a ground squirrel, a black-tailed prairie dog and, if it is warm enough, a Gila Monster and a snake.”

Volunteers should dress accordingly for the outdoors (boots, long-sleeved shirt, hat, work gloves, etc.). The temperatures in February can run the gamut from cold and wet, to hot and dry. Bring plenty of water, a sack lunch for day visits and meals for those camping out, and a shovel or rake. Those that are interested in geocaching activities should bring their own hand-held GPS units. Participants are reminded this is not a campground and there are no facilities.

For those without GPS, the camp is approximately 1/4 mile past the intersection of Vulture Mine Road and Aguila Road. No registration is required. For questions, detailed directions or more information, contact Craig Heath at (623) 882-2140 or www.cheath@azgfd.gov.

To learn more about other volunteer opportunities with the Arizona Game and Fish
Department, visit www.azgfd.gov/volunteer.