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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Leading WHEP on to the Hot Desert


Today we met for our first WHEP project in the new region.  We have to switch gears and learn about the wildlife in the hot desert region.  It is like the complete opposite from our region of luscious pines and annual precipitation of 40-60 inches.

The Hot Desert region is flat with some rolling hills.  Almost no trees and only 2-24 inches of rain.  For the most part we have the same tools for habitat management plan but they all have a twist.  However, the biggest change is the animals.

Crissal Thrasher Photo
Crissal Thrasher
We will have 2 fish (bluegill and largemouth bass), 8 birds (American Kestrel, Black-throated Sparrow, Mallard, Ladderbacked Woodpecker, White-winged Dove, Red-tailed Hawk, Gambel's Quail and Crissal Thrasher) and 7 mammals (Black-tailed Prairie Dog, Bobcat, Coyote, Desert Cottontail, Mule Deer, Raccoon and Pronghorn).  I found a great link on our state park website.  This site does not have all of the animals on our list but good start to learn about the animals.

Fortunately, we were able to take what we learned in the last contest and relate this information to these new animals.  UNfortunately, we only have three more practices before we head to contests in June.  So, a short turn around but I think we can do it.
Black-tailed Prairie Dog

Today we had four families come to practice.  I was so glad to see that we had Katy, Sean, Henry, Caitlin, Naomi, Zach and Taylor at the practice.  We have a young team which means lots of opportunity for growth.  Katy has really shown a lot of leadership since beginning this project.  I really enjoy seeing this growth and maturity as she helps the others to understand the concepts.

Pronghorn family

My only really concern is my lack of knowledge on the topic (very surface level!).  I know that learning about the animals and techniques needs to be more enjoyable.  I fear that my rote memory of facts is boring them to walk out the doors.  After all, this should be an outdoor experience!  However, with such little knowledge about the material and such a short time to learn, it is becoming a challenge for me.  I will need to work up some interesting challenges for the next time we meet.

Hoping to come back next week with a better plan!  So thankful the 4Hers are patient with me as we learn together!


  1. I want to tell you how much I appreciate all you do! We (my boys and I) know that this is info that we've got to learn quickly and we've just got to learn it! It is quite a challenge to think of a way to cover lots of material in a short time in a fun and creative way, but don't be so hard on yourself. We are enjoying it! :-)

  2. Thank you, Robin! I appreciate that. I am going to try to cut back on some of the extra information next week. We have learned half the animals, and next week we will have animals we know. It should be easier. However, I do want there to be some activity at the end to bring it all together! Who knows what that will be!