KINGMAN, Ariz. -- The majestic bighorn sheep of Arizona will be the feature presentation on consecutive weekends at the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Kingman regional office.
The annual Bighorn Sheep Workshop offers wildlife enthusiasts an opportunity to learn about these sure-footed animals and view them in their native habitat during two separate two-day workshops on July 28-29 and Aug. 4-5.
The first day of each workshop involves mandatory classroom education from 6-8 p.m. at the Kingman Game and Fish office, followed the next day by a field trip on the Colorado River from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The sheep-viewing boat trip will depart from Willow Beach.
These popular workshops are open to the public, but space is limited to 40 people per session. Preference will be given to those who have not attended the workshop in the last two years, but those who have participated are still encouraged to apply for a spot.
"We want to reach as many people as possible, and that's difficult with only 80 open spaces over two weeks," said Zen Mocarski, public information officer in Kingman. "But, if space is available, those who have participated can make the trip again."
This year's workshops will include an opportunity to tour the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery prior to the Colorado River field trip. The 45-minute tour will begin at 9 a.m. and will feature both sport fish and endangered native fish. Those attending will view feeding and will have the opportunity to feed the fish themselves.
"We're always looking for ways to improve the workshop," Mocarski said. "The hatchery tour is not mandatory to attend the workshop, but it does offer people a chance to see the inner-workings of a hatchery."
Chester Figiel, manager of the hatchery, believes those taking the tour will enjoy the experience.
"I think people will enjoy this tour and learning about the endangered species we have on site," Figiel said. "I look forward to the opportunity to show the public what we have and what we do."
To reserve a spot, a $20 refundable deposit per person is required in the form of a check made out to Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation to help reduce the problem of no-shows. The money is refunded when a person either attends the workshop or calls to cancel at least 48 hours in advance. Wildlife for Tomorrow is a non-profit group that works closely with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Registration is by mail only. Send the check to: Sheep Workshop, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road, Kingman, AZ 86409. Include the names of participants, address, phone, and specify which weekend is preferred. Also, please include a note if you are interested in the tour of the fish hatchery.
Cash donations, which are not mandatory to participate, will be accepted at the workshop to help offset increasing costs for boat rentals and fuel. Please do not send cash donations prior to the event.
Nobody under 14 years old will be registered for the event. Participants are encouraged to bring water, snacks, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
"It will be hot on the river," Mocarski advises, "but that's when bighorn come down for a drink. There is limited shade on the boats, but the temperatures will be well into triple digits."
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