Dave Barker, Friends of Ironwood Forest, Board Secretary /Treasurer
A little over a year ago, The Friends of Ironwood Forest (FIF) joined with a collection of like-minded groups to initiate a simple task – the removal of legacy barbed wire from locations where it was either unneeded or redundant. Seemingly a simple idea, it was a task with many facets and the need for coordinated planning, which the Arizona Wildlife Federation (AWF) has provided.
The FIF advocate for the Ironwood Forest National Monument and have been performing stewardship-related tasks for years. But this opportunity to collaborate with other organizations across a spectrum of interests presented a new challenge. By joining with not only the AWF, but the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Friends of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Saguaro National Park, and Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, we were able to turn that simple task – with complex challenges – into reality.
As a collection of groups, we have removed close to 20 miles of unnecessary fencing that not only inhibits wildlife movement, but can actually trap and kill individual animals. The gruesome details of such an end for a deer, bighorn sheep, or any other animal is an emotional assault that none of us wish to contemplate. The satisfaction of eliminating these dangerous and unsightly barriers is extremely rewarding and it greatly benefits habitat.
By joining our respective groups together for this joint mission, we increase the bandwidth of our reach – connecting with volunteers, supporters, and media sources. Our diverse organizations bring different skills to the table, and we are simply stronger by working together.
I applaud the Arizona Wildlife Federation for their involvement in “Desert Fence Busting.” Trica Oshant Hawkins and her AWF volunteers have contributed their expertise to our mission success.
They deserve your support, because removing old barbed wire is truly “a tune we can all dance to.”