12 January 2024

Task 2: Picking Up The Pace

Written by: Charisse Walker

These past few months leading up to the new year have been a steady adventure. Picking up from where my previous blog left off, the number of activities has increased.  To start, the Refuge was in full swing with swan checks during the swan hunting season. From what I’ve gathered, in Utah, you can hunt swans but they have to be the Tundra swan species. There is another species known as the Trumpeter swans that have a similar build to Tundra swans. Swan checks are needed to make sure hunters have the right permits to hunt swans, but also to make sure that no one harvested a trumpeter swan. 

Trumpeter swans were endangered at some point but are now in recovery so their numbers are being monitored carefully. For this year, if 20 Trumpeters were killed then the swan season would end immediately. I found it fascinating to do because I’ve never done anything hunter-related, so I appreciate the experience and even talking to some of the hunters themselves. (The checks themselves involved going through a checklist of questions and checking the body and bill of the swan.)

The next interesting experience that happened was this teacher workshop I attended called Growing Up Wild. Essentially I and a few others learned basic ways how to teach students about nature and feel confident in it. I went with a coworker to be a part of this, and, personally, that training fit my coworker and the others whose focus was education or curriculum base. I learned some interesting approaches and tactics from it, but I wouldn’t use all those tactics per se. It was still a fun trip to take and learn more about children and nature education. I never knew that outdoor education was a thing that is used a lot and it is pretty neat!

The last experience I’d like to note was the one I had the most fun at! A coworker and I went to a park called Golden Spike National Historic Park. It is home to two historical steam engines, the 119 and Jupiter. Those steam engines represent the joining of the two railroads of the transcontinental railroad. It was nice to be at that park and see what it looked like and learn the history of all the components that made that monument in history. They had a three-day event in December called Steam Fest where people can witness the engines in action and learn more about them.

 The historic engines themselves are exact replicas of the original engines. While there my coworker and I represented the Refuge by setting up a table there and sharing some things about the refuge with the park. We had a fun partnership working with the park services people! To end our first day there we were offered a VIP experience to ride Jupiter during one of their demonstrations! Overall things have been picking up some speed and I have been enjoying myself so far. 

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