National Public Lands Day

National Public Lands Day was held on Saturday, September 23rd at the Calico 1 and Sandstone Quarry parking lots. The Bureau of Land Management, Southern Nevada Conservancy, Great Basin Institute and Friends of Red Rock Canyon staff teamed up with volunteers to install split rail fence at the Calico 1 and Sandstone Quarry parking lots. Volunteers also cleaned up trash around the parking lots and performed trail work between Calico 1 and the Moenkopi Trail.

REI provided morning snacks, coffee and REI t-shirts. The BLM also provided National Public Lands Day t-shirts to participants.

With help from the BLM staff, two-man augers were used to dig the holes for the fence posts. A high turn-out of ninety-two volunteers including employees from Dignitas and Wyndham corporations resulted in 378 volunteer hours beginning in the morning and extending into early afternoon. Volunteers completed the split rail fence project at both parking lots, after more than six hours of difficult work.

Friends of Red Rock Canyon provided the hard-working volunteers and staff a lunch of sub-sandwiches, fruit, chips and cookies.

Make a Difference Day

October 28 was a clear mild Saturday where 66 volunteers contributed 362.5 hours completing several maintenance projects at the Red Rock Canyon Campground.

Ten staff members from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Friends of Red Rock Canyon (FORRC) and Southern Nevada Conservancy (SNC) assisted the volunteers.

The volunteers replaced tent pad frames at 13 campsites, filled tent pads with sand; installed new sign posts to identify campsite numbers, planted 15 mesquite trees, lined campsite and walkways with boulders and removed trash and dead foliage.

The volunteers were treated to a BBQ lunch, complements of Friends of Red Rock Canyon.

Meet Us

Meet Our Staff, Officers and Committee Chairs

Friends of Red Rock Canyon are fortunate to have volunteers and staff members who work behind the scenes to manage the day-to-day operations of our organization. We’d like to introduce you to the “people behind the curtain.”


Cam Camburn – Historian and Dedication Walkway

Cam has served as Friends Historian for two years, assisting to archive our important papers and photos. This year she took on the job of Dedication Walkway Committee Chair. She is also on the editorial team of “the Rock” and enjoys other volunteer activities at Red Rock Canyon. Cam is active in several other community organizations and continues to work as a registered nurse.


 

Liz Carmer – Canyon Cleanup Leader

At least twice a month since January 2015, Liz has led her cleanup crew collecting trash all over Red Rock Canyon. Liz and her husband Alan spent nearly eight years volunteering for state and national public lands in Alaska. They were also volunteer librarians on Caye Caulker, Belize for two winters. In the 1990s, she and Al-an were attorneys, but Liz prefers spending her time in the great outdoors.


Brenda Jackson – Bookkeeper and Webmaster

After Brenda retired in 2006, she moved from Ohio to Las Vegas the following year. She has been volunteering at Red Rock for the last eight years at the Information Desk, on Sunday mornings at the Outdoor Exhibit Area, as a hike assistant and on the Friends board. Brenda’s IT skills make her the perfect Friends’ website administrator and bookkeeper.


Sue and Roger Kolar – Tortoise Habitat

Sue and Roger have worked with Red Rock’s torts for eleven years. In addition to co-chairing the Tortoise Habitat Committee, this past spring they opened the Kolar Spa for InfirmTorts when Betty, Maxine & Lucie needed surgery. Tort Team volunteers feed, soak and monitor the tortoises during the spring, summer and early fall.


Joe and Mary Labie – Member Services & Events, License Plate, Procurement

As Member Services Chair, Mary leads a recruitment team and manages the “Making Friends” Reward Program. She is also co-chair of Member Events. As License Plate Coordinator, Joe promotes the plate, a major source of income for Friends. Together they provide merchandise, volunteer wearables and swag materials. Joe and Mary also co-chair the Annual Photo Contest.


Tom Lisby – President

President Tom Lisby has been volunteering on the Information Desk, as a Red Rock Ambassador and doing interpretative presentations at the Visitor Center. He also does trail maintenance with the Natural Resources Team. Tom is a NAI Certified InterpretativeGuide, a hike leader with the BLM and facilitates volunteer training sessions. In addition, Tom and his wife Laura are Site Stewards.


Wyatt Mulvey – Natural Resources Chair

A member of Natural Resources since 2002, Wyatt has been the leader of the team since 2009. Natural Resources has an incredible collection of people, organizations and businesses who support and care about Red Rock Canyon trails. As a rock climber, mountain biker and hiker, Wyatt has enjoyed Red Rock Canyon and feels good about giving back to such a wonderful place.


Susan Murphy – Light Trail Maintenance

Susan has been a FORRC volunteer since 2009, but didn’t get seriously involved until she retired as a pharmacist in 2013.

The Light Trail Maintenance program was proposed and put into action by Susan as of January 2017 to feed her passion for hiking on trails and keeping them beautiful.


Patricia Potter – Vice President and Recruiting

Patricia joined Friends in 2013, volunteering first with the Native PlantTeam and the Torts. She was a member of the Milkweed Grant Preparation Team, worked on the Macy’s Shop for a Cause Fundraiser, has written for “the Rock,” and is excited about volunteering with Cultural Resources and learning about archaeological site assessment. “I love what I’ve learned from Friends.”


Peter Sbraccia – Graffiti Removal

Peter is a Las Vegas local and has been volunteering with Friends of Red Rock Canyon since 2015 when he first joined the Graffiti Clean-up Team. He has served in his current position as Graffiti Removal Committee Chairperson since January 2017, scheduling and coordinating removal of graffiti in Red Rock Canyon NCA with support from BLM and our great volunteers.

Peter’s interests in geology and visual culture meet at Red Rock Canyon among the NCA’s many petroglyphs and pictographs. However, he strongly advises you to keep your art off the rocks. Take only pictures, and leave only footprints, please!


Rob J. Tuvell – Director

Rob is a new member of Friends and is honored to now serve on its board. Rob was introduced to Friends by his parents, longtime members Rob and Marilyn. He is extremely proud to be part of an organization that’s instrumental in helping maintain, preserve and protect outdoors areas in our country. Rob is married with two daughters and is an active realtor in the Las Vegas Valley.


Linda Vetter – Transportation Grants

We thank Linda for getting thousands of Clark County School District students happily onto the trails of Red Rock Canyon. An average of sixty grants per year are approved for Red Rock Canyon educational field trips.A retired teacher, she also volunteers on the Membership, Special Events and Gift Wrap Committees.


Kristi Weeks – Executive Director

The newest friendly face in the Friends office is our new executive direct. She began volunteering with Friends in September 2013 at the Information Desk and in the Tortoise Habitat. Kristi was the Grant Committee Lead for Friends before being hired as the Executive Director in August. Kristi holds a Masters Degree in natural resource management and worked in California and Oregon as a land use planner.


Chuck Williams – Cultural Resources Chair

Chuck, past Friends President, chairs the Cultural Resources Committee. He also is a volunteer for the Natural Resources Committee and the Tortoise Habitat Team. Cultural Resources members monitor and conduct site assessments of historic and prehistoric sites in Red Rock Canyon.


Pat Williams – Treasurer, Communications, Newsmagazine and Policy Review

In addition to her board position as Friends Treasurer, Pat is the “face” of Friends as chair of the committees that let the public know about the work being done by Friends. She oversees the magazine as well as designs the annual Visions of Red Rock calendar. Pat also assists with the Annual Photo Contest, the quarterly meetings and Volunteer Awards and Volunteer Appreciation Awards Program.


Shari Young – Secretary, Native Plant Team

Shari and her husband Jeff moved to LasVegas in 2014 from south central Penn-sylvania where they had a small farm. They fell in love with Red Rock Canyon on visits to the area even before they moved here after Shari retired from Mars Chocolate. New to the Friends Board, Shari also volunteers for the Southern Nevada Milkweed Project as well as the Ronald McDonald House.

Join a Friends of Red Rock Canyon Committee and Get Involved

Members interested in volunteer activities may join one of the Friends Committees or perform other services for the Canyon such as trail monitoring, trail maintenance and construction, trash pick-up, tortoise habitat care and monitoring, member recruiting, special events and projects, leading or assisting with hikes or Information Desk duty.

Please contact the appropriate committee chair via email or contact the Friends staff via telephone if you are interested in becoming involved at Red Rock Canyon.

All Friends members receive a 25% discount on purchases in the Southern Nevada Conservancy Elements Gift and Book Store.

Bookkeeper

Brenda Jackson – brenda@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Coordinates financial records, processes payments and revenue, prepares deposits and tracks committee expenses.

Canyon Cleanup

Liz Carmer – ccu@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Coordinates and schedules regular trash clean up sessions at parking lots, picnic areas, trail heads and boardwalks in the core area of Red Rock Canyon.

Communications

Pat Williams – pat@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Create and send monthly and/or as needed electronic mail updates to members. Maintain, post and monitor the Friends of Red Rock Canyon social media sites. Issue press releases for events or programs as needed or requested.

Computer Services

Brenda Jackson – brenda@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Manage Friends of Red Rock Canyon data network, PC hardware/software and website.

Cultural Resources

Chuck Williams – chuck@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Conducts archeological surveys of Red Rock Canyon and extended areas to monitor and photo-document sites, rock art and artifacts; emplace protective barriers when necessary (working with Natural Resources and BLM) or repair existing barriers.

Graffiti Removal

Peter Sbraccia – preserve@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Coordinates and schedules graffiti removal work days. Works closely with the BLM volunteer coordinator and archeologist.

Historian

Cam Camburn – cam@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Maintain historical records for Friends of Red Rock Canyon. This will include, but not be limited to: board minutes, electronic updates, news magazine files and photographic records.

Hospitality

Vacant info@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Coordinates refreshments and meeting location for three quarterly meetings, the annual awards banquet as well as special events. Schedules dates for quarterly meetings and obtains bids for the annual awards presentation in the first quarter – October to December.

License Plate

Joe Labie – lp@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Track license plate sales and provide timely updates to the board of directors on sales and revenue. Create and implement promotional campaigns to increase sales.

Light Trail Maintenance

Susan Murphy – susan@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Coordinates and schedules regular bi monthly grooming and light maintenance on Red Rock Canyon trails.

Magazine

Pat Williams – pat@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Coordination, writing and editing of the quarterly magazine, the Rock, including researching and solicitation of articles, announcements and schedules, desktop publishing and graphics, and printing and processing for mailing.

Marketing & Outreach

Glenn Ritt – glenn@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Promote Friends messaging via community and corporate outreach. Liaise with media and other outlets to increase participation in Red Rock events.

Member Services

Mary Labie – mary@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Maintain member computer database, renewal notification, membership cards and brochures, membership acquisition drives and coordinate volunteer awards programs.

Native Plant Team

Shari Young – npt@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Maintains all landscaping located in the Visitor Center area, working with UN-R certified Master Gardeners, including the Tortoise Habitat. Coordination of specialized projects relating to any revegetation within Red Rock Canyon NCA.

Natural Resources

Wyatt Mulvey – nr@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Participation in outdoor projects for resource enhancement and protection including trail maintenance and cleaning, repair and signing, removal of non-indigenous species and habitat rehabilitation. Works closely with BLM personnel both at RRCNCA and District to preserve and protect Red Rock Canyon.

Photo Contest

Joe and Mary Labie – photo@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Coordinates the annual Friends of Red Rock Canyon Photo Contest and photo display at the Visitor Center.

Policy Review

Pat Williams – pat@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Review existing and proposed policies and procedures for Friends of Red Rock Canyon. Works with the board of directors as well as members to ensure FORRC policies are current and equitable.

Procurement

Joe and Mary Labie – mary@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Fund raising through sale of items at our Web Store and to the Southern Nevada Conservancy’s Elements Gift and Book Store. Researching items, coordinating design, maintaining inventory, invoicing and delivery.

Recruiting

Patricia Potter – patricia@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Recruits volunteers to fill open committee chair or board positions.

Special Events

Kristi Weeks – Kristi@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Assist with coordination and event logistics for community events such as Red Rock Day, National Public Lands Day and Make a Difference Day. Will work closely with the board of directors and the BLM project coordinator.

Tortoise Habitat Coordinators

Roger and Sue Kolar, Chelsea Conlin – torts@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Training and schedule coordination of habitat workers. Maintains records of 10 Desert Tortoises as well as coordinating routine maintenance in habitat. Works in cooperation with the Master Gardeners.

Transportation

Linda Vetter – busgrant@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Awarding and managing the school bus scholarship program for Title One schools in Clark County. This program provides funds for eligible schools to participate in Red Rock Canyon environmental education classes and field trips to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Walkway

Cam Camburn – tilesale@friendsofredrockcanyon.org 
Coordinates all aspects of the Walkway, including order acceptance, proofing, determining text suitability, coordinating work with vendor and notifying donors when work is complete.

Volunteering at Red Rock Canyon

Have you ever wondered how you could help preserve, protect or enhance one of your favorite recreational places? Volunteer!

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area has close to 200,000 acres of climbing routes, hiking, cycling and equestrian trails, a beautiful Visitor Center and some amazing Rock Stars – the resident desert tortoise. There are also almost 2,000,000 visitors using the area each year so Red Rock can use all the help it can get!

A few of the benefits of volunteering:

 

  • The Bureau of Land Management provides free annual passes to volunteers based on their hours of service.
  • Friends of Red Rock Canyon also provide appreciation awards, such as an annual banquet, name tags and Friends wearables based upon their volunteer hours.

What are you interested in doing or learning more about? Red Rock has many opportunities for you to try ranging from volunteering at the Information Desk to working on trails and removing graffiti.

Listed below are some positions that might interest you.

Information Desk – There are about 500,000 people coming into the Visitor Center annually. The information desk is typically staffed by two people during each morning and afternoon shift. During peak visitation periods, the need for friendly faces dispensing information increases.

Tortoise Habitat Volunteers – The best job at the Rock involves helping with the care and feeding of the ten resident desert tortoises. The eight females live in one large habitat and the two males each have a separate habitat. Volunteers also interact with Red Rock guests and will likely develop a strong bond with at least one of the Rock Stars.

Want something a little more active? How about trash collection, maintaining and improving the trees and native plants, helping to increase the monarch population, repairing trails, documenting and preserving our Native American cultural sites, helping on community volunteer days and removing graffiti.

You can find out more about these and other volunteer opportunities by going to theCommittees page or by emailing us at volunteer@friendsofredrockcanyon.org.

Scheduling and Posting Volunteer Hours

Volunteers who are set up in Volgistics have access to the Volunteer Information Center (VIC) where they can schedule volunteer days and post their volunteer hours. If you are a registered volunteer you may use the link below to access your VIC account.

Volunteer Information Center

If you are not registered in Volgistics and would like to be, please email volunteer@friendsofredrockcanyon.org.

 

Volunteer Hours Reporting

These are just some of the areas where you should report or log your time donated to benefit Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

  • Friends meetings such as attending our quarterly breakfasts, board meetings or committee meetings.
  • Trash collection or trail monitoring – did you know that keeping the Canyon clean on a hike counts as volunteer service?
  • Special volunteer work events such as National Public Lands Day, Red Rock Day or Make a Difference Day.
  • Any time you contribute to areas such as:
    • Tortoise Habitat care and information
    • Working at the Information Desk
    • Assisting with school programs
    • Helping to maintain the trails
    • Recruiting members
    • Serving on the Board of Directors and Friends committees
    • Reporting trail damage, graffiti or suspicious activities within the Canyon
  • Travel time to and from Red Rock Canyon and other volunteer locations. While the BLM Tort Claims volunteer insurance starts when you are at your volunteer position, your travel time is considered part of your volunteer contributions.

Your donated contributions are so valuable and necessary for the successful operations of Red Rock Canyon.

The Bureau of Land Management is continually facing budget and hiring restrictions. Each fiscal year, Friends volunteers add the equivalent of 10 to 11 full time employees working for the Rock.

Please contact us at volunteer@friendsofredrockcanyon.org if you have any questions about your volunteer service.

A Q & A with Chelsea Conlin, Tortoise Habitat Team Leader

Roger and Sue Kolar, our longtime chairs of the Tortoise Habitat Team, are turning over their responsibilities to newcomer Chelsea Conlin.

Here,  she answers questions we receive about our tortoises. Share your questions with her at torts@friendsofredrockcanyon.org.

 

Chelsea is happy to make a presentation about our desert tortoises to schools and organizations.

What’s the difference between turtles and tortoises?

Turtles live in and around water. Tortoises live on land and cannot swim. Tortoises and turtles are pretty unique-looking!

What are their closest living relatives?

Turtles and tortoises are most closely related to birds and crocodiles! Surprisingly, they are less closely related to lizards and snakes.

How can you tell male and female Mojave Desert Tortoises apart?

Adult males grow larger than females. This is called sexual dimorphism. Males and females have some other distinguishing characteristics:

  • Females have flat plastrons  (underside  of the shell, like the tortoise’s belly) and males have concave plastrons.
  • Males have a larger, curved gular horn on the front of their plastron; females have a short, straight one.
  • Females have shorter tails than males.
  • Adult males have glands on their chins that are enlarged during mating season.

I know I should leave wild tortoises alone. But what if I find one on a busy road?

In that case, you should very slowly approach the tortoise so that they don’t get scared. If they get scared they will sometimes urinate, which will cause them to lose all their water stores, and they can die of dehydration.

Carefully lift the tortoise just off the ground and slowly carry them in the direction they were already heading. Bring the tortoise at least 50 feet  (15    m) from the road and place them under a bush for shade. If the tortoise did urinate, you can try to dig a small depression in the ground near their head and pour water into it. Hopefully the tortoise will drink.

How fast can tortoises move?

They can walk at a speed of 0.3-7.3 hours per mile  (0.5-12  hours per km),  but  cannot  sustain  a fast pace for long, or they might overheat.

Do tortoises hibernate?

No, tortoises brumate. It’s very similar to hibernation in mammals, but tortoises are not truly asleep when they brumate, unlike mammals hibernating. Their metabolism just slows down dramatically. They will come out to drink if it rains in the winter, and sometimes baby tortoises will eat during that time, as well.

Do tortoises dig their own burrows?

Yes, they are excellent diggers. Their summer burrows  are  generally             fairly short: 3-4 feet (0.9-1.2 m) deep.  Winter burrows, or dens, can be up to 30 feet (9.1  m) long!  This protects the tortoise from the coldest winter weather.

Are tortoises’ solitary animals?

Yes and no. They do not spend all their time with other tortoises, like wolves spend time with others in their pack. However, their social lives are surprisingly complex! Males, especially, will travel miles to visit the females in their territory, which can  be  up to 220 acres (0.34  square  miles/0.55  km).

Tortoises have friends who live near them, and also tortoises who they don’t like and will avoid.

What do tortoises eat?

Tortoises are herbivorous, meaning they only eat plants. The only exception is that sometimes very young tortoises will eat insects. Generally, tortoises prefer  soft, water-filled annual  plants and flowers, but once those start to dry up in summer tortoises mostly switch to eating dry grasses to put on weight for winter brumation. Unfortunately, invasive grass species like Red brome can injure tortoises with their sharp points if the tortoise tries to eat them.

When do baby tortoises hatch?

Baby tortoises are called hatchlings. They emerge from their eggs between mid-August and October. Typically, they do not eat before brumation because they have a store of energy from their yolk sac. Just ask Chelsea about the Rock Stars.