Friday, June 24, 2011

Flat Ranch Welcomes Summer Volunteers & Intern

Submitted by Sarah Grigg, Flat Ranch Preserve manager

The 1650-acre Flat Ranch requires some serious up-keep to meet its habitat preservation, grazing, and outreach/education goals. The maintenance of the visitor center and the completion of sundry ranch projects depend upon the commitment of a few individuals with a passion for conservation.

For the next three months, Nancy Elkins and Dave Katsuki—full-time RV road warriors who have covered North America from New Mexico to North Carolina—will contribute 32 hours weekly to keep the visitor center fully functioning and ready to welcome Flat Ranch guests. Nancy formerly worked in marketing and public relations, starting off as a clown, making her way to the Arizona State Lottery, and eventually working as a tour guide in Alaska. She no longer does animal balloon tricks, but she is still “the hostess with the most-est” when it comes to greeting visitors and keeping the visitor center in order.

Dave previously worked as the vice president of engineering for several software companies, and we suspect he might have been a plumber-electrician-carpenter on the side, as he’s repaired our hose and heating systems, as well as jack fences. We can’t wait to see what he’ll fix or improve next.

Intern Laura Yungmeyer recently graduated from Washington and Lee University with degrees in Political Science and Art History. She is the recipient of the A. Paul Knight Memorial Scholarship in Conservation, and will spend the next three months assisting with event planning, fence repairs, willow plantings, keeping the cattle out of the river, and whatever else the wind blows this way.

Having spent two summers as a trail camp cook in Wyoming, she’s not afraid of the challenges that come with working in the "Wild West." With a curious mind, lots of initiative, and a willingness to learn to use various drill bits, we know she’ll be a great help to the Flat Ranch.

Stop by the Flat Ranch soon to meet these outstanding individuals!

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