Training and Preparation for the Tonto National Forest Riparian Photopoint Program
COVID-19 version, Spring 2020
I was struck by the determination of some of our regular photopoint volunteers to persevere and carry on with the project this year. This means a lot to us, and to our Forest Service counterparts. Our photopoint team has been hard to make this work. There may be some snags and I depend on you to let me know so I can fix them quickly!
The usual PowerPoint training is available below along with all the forms you’ll need. The training is a PDF with notes (at the bottom of each slide) that are what we would be saying during a live training session.
SIGNING UP AS A VOLUNTEER
Go thru the PDF training document first, then fill out the questionnaire and volunteer form and mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org Be sure to fill out your emergency contact person and their phone number. This should NOT be a person going with you, but a person you will tell where you are going and when to expect you home. Be sure to fill out a couple of parts on the back – check boxes about any medical condition you have, and your signature. It’s OK to type /s/ and your name if you don’t want to go thru scanning it.
SITE SELECTION AND ASSIGNMENT
You can go to the map on our webpage: http://photopoints.friendsofthetonto.org/ and use the dropdown box to select a site yourself. We’ve been adding topo maps for all the priority sites. If you want to select your own site(s) indicate this on the questionnaire. Please list a few options as other people may select the same site you want. Below are links to a list of sites with access information and a document that explains the abbreviations.
After I receive your questionnaire and volunteer form, I’ll go thru the priority sites for the year and propose a few for you or let you know which of the sites you selected is available.
Before you head out, you will need the packet with past years’ photos and sketch maps to take with you to the field. I can either bring it to you or mail it.
GOING OUT TO YOUR SITE
BEFORE YOU GO, go thru the maps and make sure you know how to get there!
Review the check in/check out policy and remember to do that when you go out. If you plan to leave early in the morning before the dispatch office opens, call them the day before. Remember to call them when you get back! This is VERY IMPORTANT!! If you’re almost home and it’s close to closing time for dispatch, give them a call.
Tell a good friend (the kind who will actually do something if you don’t come back by when you say you will) where you are going and when you expect to be home. This is important, even though you are checking in with the dispatch office. If you don’t get home by the time your friend expects you, they should call Patti Fenner (602)-432-4944.
Take note of anything that doesn’t seem right (cut fences, abandoned cars), anything particularly interesting (invasive plants, endangered or rare animals, etc.), GPS coordinates or sketch map features that were incorrect (along with corrections).
If the photo is extra wide, take a panorama – but not using a panorama setting on your phone. Simply stand in one spot and pivot, holding the camera level and overlapping consecutive shots by about 25 or 30% of the frame. Then send us the photos (instructions are on the Important phone numbers/Filing Instructions sheet), and we’ll stitch them together.
Be sure to use the same aspect as the photos in your packet. If a photo is oriented as portrait, retake it that way; if it is landscape oriented, use your camera/phone sideways to create a landscape photo.
Remember, the whole game is to take the EXACT SAME view as before!
AFTER YOU GET HOME
Relax, take a drink, and congratulate yourself for a job well done! The Tonto depends on people like you who love to get out and take photos (and provide them an invaluable service)!
Download the photos from your camera/phone and name them according to the convention on the “Important Phone Numbers/Filing Instructions” sheet.
Email email@example.com to say you’ve successfully made your site visits. Patti will create a folder for you in Dropbox. You’ll get an invitation to the folder, then you can upload both your photos and your trip notes.