Phoenix Field School Week Nine – Hot Tubs & the Gila River


This week started off with a sense of excitement since the government was up and running and we knew we would be getting back into the field after a long stretch stuck in the city. We started the week collecting the leaf packs we had left in the ponds at the Audubon and the Rio Salado. Even though we couldn’t actually find the ones we put in the Rio Salado pond, we found lots of great macro invertebrates who had made homes in the leaf packs in the Audubon pond. We looked under a magnifying glass at worms and scuds and snails and leeches and grouped them into like groups. Who knew our little pond has such a diversity of life in it?!

Tuesday we headed out to the Safford BLM office. We met with Ranger Brian Brinkley who led us to Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area where we wrestled weeds in a drainage and painted fences around the hot tubs. We were lucky enough to be able to enjoy the hot tubs after work, along with an SCC crew that was also on hitch in the area.

On Thursday and Friday we went to the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area, where we repaired the Serna Cabin, built in the 1920’s. It was like art class – we sculpted mud and pushed it between the stones to prevent the stones from coming loose. After work we were able to hang out at the Gila River and see who could throw rocks the farthest.

Where will Marvelous Mel take us next? Stay tuned to find out!