Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Calling All Photographers!

Playing Cards in the Maroon Bells, CO (2008)

It's time again for the 2nd annual Wilderness Volunteers Photo Contest. As we did in last year's inaugural event, which, among other things, featured hard work, Montana "Boot Dryers", a miniature snowman, and an unusual "show and tell" session, we're looking for your best photos of folks working, hiking, hanging out - doing whatever you feel demonstrates the best of Wilderness Volunteers.

Submit up to four photos from any WV trips you've participated in, and include the name and date of the project, as well as a brief caption describing the photo (humor appreciated :). Email your entries to
Mike Leonard. For a look at last year's winners, click here.

Prizes will be awarded for the top three submissions (maximum of one prize per entrant) and the contest will run until May 30th. First place wins a newly-issued WV hooded sweatshirt, second place a WV Klean Kanteen, and third place a WV baseball cap. All entries will be posted online and viewable in the WV Photo Gallery. (View all of last year's submissions here.)

Happy shootin'!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Nesting Sea Turtle Rehab, Hawaiian Style

I just returned from the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park service project where we backpacked 8 miles losing 2700-feet to get to a remote beach at Halape where we set up camp for a week of making the beach a more friendly place for rare hawksbill turtles, a critically endangered sea turtle, to nest. We started the hike in a mist, hiking through rainbows over a lava flow from the 1970s, and descending to a beautiful sunny oasis on the southeast side of the Big Island of Hawaii.As this sign below describes, these sea turtles are very rare and face continuing threats. One threat not listed on the sign is the invasive plants taking over the beaches making it hard for the mother turtles to reach a safe sandy place to make a nest, and all but impossible for the tiny hatchling turtles to negotiate on their way to the ocean. The prime offender is haole koa, leucaena leucocephala which grows in large thickets over beach sand making it difficult not only for the sea turtles, but for everyone visiting the beaches. We spent the days sawing, lopping and pulling these trees, clearing the forward beach areas along Halape and Halape-iki. We also removed an invasive passiflora vine and many large rocks from these beach areas just above the high tide line where the turtles look for nesting spots.Camping on the beach was wonderful, with the incredible ocean vistas, the views up and down the coast line, the nearby swimming lagoon and a brackish water plunge in a nearby crack for washing off at the end of the day. One afternoon we hiked to the nearby Keahou Beach where there is a more protected lagoon and spent several hours snorkeling amid the brightly colored corals and fishes.
The picture above shows our group posed under a carved coconut trunk (there were many standing sentinels along the campsite trail). Michal, Ashely, Igor, Randy and Lee joined me for this wonderful experience under the volcano. We will all have dreams of the baby turtles growing strong and being able to make it to the ocean this summer and fall due to our efforts.Mahalo to the Park Service for their organization and support, and their continuing efforts to protect these special places!

Friday, March 12, 2010

3 Days Left for WV Auction

Only 3 days remain in the Wilderness Volunteers Online Auction. Now's the time for everyone waiting until the last moment to swoop in and grab that must have item! Check out the great deals at Wilderness Volunteers Auction and place a bid...while you still can.

From outdoor gear to hiking, biking, & river adventures to apparel and footwear to home & condo stays, you'll surely find super deals on some very nice things, all while "giving something back" as proceeds benefit Wilderness Volunteer's mission to organize and promote volunteer service to America's wild lands.

A new item, Rent A Kayak for a Weekend has just been added, generously donated by Eastern Mountain Sports.

Once you've bid, you’ll stay intrigued as the auction winds down to an exciting finish this Sunday, March 14 at 6:00pm MST. Make sure you're watching in the last hours so you don't get outbid. The auction emails will come from "@wildernessvolunteers.org" so be sure to add this domain to your acceptable email list.

Get your family, friends, co-workers and contacts involved by forwarding this message far and wide. Mention the auction on your personal and your company's Facebook or MySpace page, blog about it, call your uncle, wake the neighbors!

Thanks for your support!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Mama Knows Best

I was traveling through New Mexico this week and caught this on the evening news. Needless to say, I feel compelled to share.

If you think this bear has impressive moves, watch this one strut her stuff.

WV at Outdoor Expo

L to R: Marge Volpe, Rick Volpe, Ron Eydelloth (and his son), Mike Leonard, and Joe Maglaty.

WV was out and about this Saturday in Souderton, PA at the 2010 Calvary Outdoors Expo, which was host to several thousand attendees. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to learn about Wilderness Volunteers and "Giving Something Back."

And an extra special thanks to Rick and Marge Volpe, Ron Eydelloth, Joe Maglaty, and Jen Leonard for representing WV and sharing some stories from the backcountry....including a great one about a "trail zamboni." (More to come on that...)

Monday, March 01, 2010

Kitchen Corner

Below is one of my favorite recipes, one which I have used for many years. The recipe works best for car camping trips because it uses canned items, but I use it often on backpacking trips where there is pack support from the agency. Lately, I've been chopping the fresh items prior to the trip. This saves a little room and time spent in the kitchen after a long day of grubbing trails or whatever work we might be doing. I've also used dried ingredients instead of canned when I can find them. For example, dried corn is readily available from on-line sources.

This recipe lends itself to variations, such as adding grated cheese on top of the stew along with chopped green onions, depending on the cook's preferences. The important components are to have some fresh ingredients (bell pepper, carrots, etc.) and the seasonings. Don't scrimp on the chili powder!

Gayle Marechal

Native American Stew for 12

2 can red beans drained and rinsed
1 can black beans drained and rinsed
2 cans whole kernel corn drained and rinsed
1 can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
1 can hominy drained and rinsed
1 box Pomi crushed tomatoes
1 large onion
2 large carrots
3 celery stalks
1 bell pepper
1/2 cup chili powder (pre-mix this w/seasonings below)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
3 vegetarian bullion cubes
Olive oil

Coarsely chop onion, carrots, celery, and bell pepper then saute with the garlic in the oil until tender. Add the red and black beans, corn, hominy, and garbanzo beans. Add the crushed tomatoes and pre-mixed seasonings along with a quart or so of water, depending on the consistency desired. Allow stew to simmer covered over low heat for about half an hour or until carrots are tender. Serve with flour tortillas.