Equipped with kneepads and trowels, three dozen volunteers helped replant native seedlings near Lucky Peak in March. Turns out Idaho Fish and Game relies on hundreds of volunteers for their habitat restoration program.
Carrying sagebrush and bitterbrush seedlings, a dedicated group of volunteers gave a helping hand to birds and animals by planting the native species over 700 acres a wildfire burned last year. The goal was to jumpstart nature’s recovery in this critical Mule Deer wintering area near Idaho Highway 21.
Brian Pearson is a Public Information Specialist with Fish and Game. He says this is just one of many projects that taps volunteers to restore habitat. He says the program couldn’t succeed without them.
“I think these volunteers make a huge, huge difference,” says Pearson.
Fish and Game’s volunteer program began in 1990. In a typical year, 1,500 people volunteer. A number of them are regulars. Pearson says those folks who keep coming back are critical to the program and often act as team leaders.
“And what’s great about these people who come out year after year is really we can send them out there and know that they know what they should be doing, and so it really kind of takes a little bit of pressure off of us,” says Pearson.
Some volunteer for a short period, others help out for up to 50 days a year. Pearson says many volunteers make lifelong friends.
“It’s fun and it’s satisfying. You can really build friendships out there. You can take an active role in wildlife management. Maybe make some professional connections and gain some new skills and experiences in the process,” says Pearson.
Fish and Game works on habitat restoration projects throughout the year and is always looking for more volunteers.
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