IBEW Local 322 and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance have banded together to create a space for the National Elk Refuge to store the antlers that the elk shed that will in turn be auctioned off in order to help support the National Elk Refuge. This is being called the Shed Shed Project.
Learn more on the National Elk Refuge website.
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Transcript – National Elk Refuge: The Shed Shed Project
Here in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at Grand Teton National Park, you will see acres of beautiful land, running water, and wildlife. But in the fall and winter months, it’s an even greater site to see. This beautiful place becomes something very special.
It’s called home to over 11 thousand elk, thanks to the National Elk Refuge. When national forage runs out, they are fed here, taken care of, and visitors from all over the world get to see these incredible creatures.
Natalie Fath: Visitor Services Manger & Volunteer Coordinator, National Elk Refuge “This refuge was established in congress in 1912 as a winter game or elk reserve response to severe elk starvation in 1909 and 1910.”
When the elk migrate they leave a beautiful reminder of their presence. Thousands of naturally shed antlers. These antlers in turn are used to help raise money to put back into the refuge. But with so many antlers, it’s been a challenge to find a place to keep them until they are auctioned off. Until IBEW Local 322 and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance came along to volunteer their time and build a place for these antlers. It’s being called the Shed Shed Project.
Cris Dippel: Deputy Refuge Manager, National Elk Refuge “The shed is important because we don’t have one central location to store antlers. We don’t have enough space. We were using people’s garages, the trailer, the equipment shed. With this shed it will be in one central location. Much better for sorting and much more secure. It will be locked up tight.”
John Miller, Mountain Electrical Local 322 “The whole shed was constructed by IBEW members from the ground up. Doing the framing, the walls the siding and the roof. The slab was done by a boy scout working on his eagle project.”
Collecting the antlers every year is a big group project.
Cris Dippel: Deputy Refuge Manager, National Elk Refuge “There’s been an agreement with the boy scouts since the 50’s. We can collect antlers and the boy scouts sell the antlers on the grounds we collect antlers as soon as they start dropping. So mid January we start picking them up for safety.”
John Miller: Mountain Electrical, IBEW Local 322 “The elk refuge is special to me because I had all three boys that were in scouting and as a scout master I spent time with them out there picking up antlers and now they will be stored in the shed.”
Nathan Watson: Boy Scout Troop 268 “This one sounded cool to be because it links back to scouting since it stores all the antlers the boy scouts find. I just thought it was a cool way to finish out my boy scouting career.”
David Watson, Boy Scout Troop Leader, Troop 268 “I’ve been involved with the elk antler auction and pick up for about 12 years. I’m very proud of my son, he definitely put his all into this project and we don’t see that often. Were very excited that he choose this project, how he organized it, how he worked with the adults and the kids.”
Natalie Fath: Visitor Services Manger & Volunteer Coordinator, National Elk Refuge “We have these skilled tradesman working along side a boy scout that is getting his eagle scout along side refuge staff. This is the first time the refuge has had a project this dynamic.”
Cris Dippel: Deputy Refuge Manager, National Elk Refuge “Volunteer hours for this shed I would estimate around 700 man hours give or take.
To have the skilled labor of the IBEW is it would be an understatement to say what that skill set does for us. Having those guys do the electrical, the siding, the steel on the roof. You just can’t put a price on that.”
John Miller: Mountain Electrical, IBEW Local 322 “For local 322 projects like this are nothing for us. We are used to
do projects like this whether it’s a food drive or habitat for humanity and it’s our opportunity to give back to the community and say thank you for hiring us.”
Bruce Johnson, Membership Development Local 322 “By tapping into the union sportsman alliance the opportunity is to showcase through them what volunteer projects and union sportsman can do. It’s huge. We do care about our communities and this is a good volunteer project.”
Natalie Fath: Visitor Services Manger & Volunteer Coordinator, National Elk Refuge “I certainly have better sense of the expertise that union workers bring to federal lands, especially habitat enhancement projects.”
Cris Dippel: Deputy Refuge Manager, National Elk Refuge “The value of IBEW members is I think invaluable. We cant’ do this work on our own. We would have to contract it and it would be months and months trying to get it done.”
Natalie Fath: Visitor Services Manger & Volunteer Coordinator, National Elk Refuge “The refuge would welcome future projects with the local and the union sportsman alliance. This project would not have been possible or a reality without their involvement.”
Reporting for IBEW Hour Power, I’m Erica McClaugherty.