Wild Arizona’s award-winning Wilderness Stewardship Program—affectionately dubbed ‘Wild Stew’— is a volunteer-based program, formed in 2010, to assist land management agencies with activities to maintain, protect, and restore the character of wilderness areas on Arizona’s federal public lands. The program began guiding groups of volunteers into some of Arizona’s most spectacular wilderness areas—Cedar Bench, Pine Mountain, Castle Creek, and Sycamore Canyon to name a few—to initiate monitoring the ecological and recreational conditions of these wild areas. Initially launched on the Prescott National Forest, the popularity and success of the program has allowed us to continue working on the Prescott as well as Arizona’s other national forests and BLM lands.
The goal of the Wild Stew program is to empower Arizona’s communities and volunteers with in-depth training, resources, and logistical support in order to protect and restore Arizona’s public lands; through providing positive experiences in the natural world, we also aim to cultivate land stewardship, appreciation for wild places, deeper ecological understanding, and advocacy.
We engage volunteers on a weekend basis and train long-term volunteers through our Adopt-a-Wilderness Program. Adopt-a-Wilderness stewards are specially-trained and empowered to trek into and monitor Arizona’s 90 wilderness areas on their own time—collecting invaluable data and completing maintenance tasks that the federal land agencies have limited staff and fiscal resources to accomplish. Training includes invasive plant identification, recreation site monitoring protocols, trail and trailhead maintenance, backcountry preparedness, and more.
Education is an important component of our field programs. Volunteers learn about the natural and human history of the place they visit. The Wild Stew program fosters deeper understandings of public lands management and personal connections to wild places, while empowering volunteers with the tools necessary to advocate for their protection.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we have temporarily suspended many of our larger group events until further notice, but there are still plenty of solo opportunities to volunteer with Wild Arizona! If you’re out hiking around Arizona, be sure to check to see if there are any monitoring, documenting, or other activities that you can do at the same time!
Be sure to also join our Meetup group so that you can be notified by email when we resume group volunteer opportunities and receive announcements for each event! Group events typically include trail maintenance and improvement projects, hiking and backpacking, riparian restoration, monitoring, trainings, and more! No experience necessary to participate!
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