You can help to water the plants!

Initially, watering will be twice weekly for the first few weeks. As the plants become established during the winter months the watering frequency will decrease. Eventually, watering will need to increase in frequency as summer temperatures rise. Typically, supplemental water for the first year is needed until the plants have matured.

Here are five easy steps to take to help with watering the milkweed plants:

  1. Read the watering instructions below for the site you’re going to – either Wildcat Trailhead/Staging Area on the Cave Creek Ranger District, or Phon D Sutton on the Lower Salt River, Mesa Ranger District.
  2. Be sure to click the links and read the two job hazard analyses.
  3. Sign and email the Group Volunteer Form and the Friends of the Tonto Waiver.
  4. Once you have completed the three steps above, you may sign up to water as many times as you like! Simply use the “Sign-Up” link below to sign up for the dates you want to go water.
  5. Go out and water!

Click here for Phon D Sutton Recreation Area, Mesa Ranger District Instructions


Instructions for

Wildcat Trailhead/Staging Area on the Cave Creek Ranger District

Safety and before you go:

Wear your mask when at the site and when at the Fire Station. If you are working outside alone or with others who have been fully Covid 19-vaccinated, and you are also vaccinated, there is no requirement to wear masks. 

Watch your footing and watch for traffic when watering.

Let a friend know where you are going and when you expect to return. Remember to call them back to let them know you got home safely!

Read over the both job hazard analyses (JHAs) below for safety tips.

Fill out and sign the Volunteer Sign Up and Liability Waiver below. If any minors will be participating in the watering, also fill out, sign and return the Parent/Guardian Minor Consent Form. Please be sure to include the name and phone number of an emergency contact person. Email the forms to pfenner@friendsofthetonto.org at least 1 day before you go.

Volunteer Sign Up and Liability Waiver 2021

Contact others who will be watering the same day as you and make arrangements for meeting to pick up the water, etc.

Check a map to be sure you know how to get where you’re going.

Picking up water at the Tonto Hills Volunteer Fire Department: 

From intersection of Bartlett Lake Road and Cave Creek Road, continue north on Cave Creek Road for about 1.3 miles.  Look for tall Totem Pole set back from road, to the west, and Raven’s View Restaurant on the west side.  Turn to the west (left) onto Gold Mine Road, which is just north of the restaurant.  You can see the fire department building from there – just drive a very short distance to the intersection with the totem pole on the west and it is the building with a flagpole.

The cubitainers are stashed on the west side of the building.  There is a hose that you can hook up to fill them if they are not already filled (or at the end of your trip when you return them). Please put the hose back where you found it. There are 12 2.5 gallon cubitainers, so a little more than you should need to water 50 plants ½ gallon each. There will be some one-gallon jugs and a funnel so you can use smaller containers to carry between plants. We have purchased a siphon you can use to manually pump water from the cubitainers into the smaller one-gallon jugs if you don’t want to pour into the jugs using the funnel.

A Forest Service engine crew is using the office there temporarily.  They should be there between 7 AM and 4 PM unless they have a call.  You won’t need to go inside unless you want to use the restroom, which they have given us permission to do.

Milkweed Site:

From the fire station, drive back down Cave Creek Road (turn right from Gold Mine Road back onto Cave Creek Road), drive about 1.3 miles to the intersection with Bartlett Lake Road (keep an eye out and don’t drive past it – there’s no stop sign or light if you are on Cave Creek Road), and turn to the left.  Drive a little over 1 mile to the Wildcat Trailhead/Staging Area.  (The dirt road turnoff is immediately past the 1-mile marker sign on the right side of the Bartlett Lake Road.) This road is a little rutty in places, but you can drive a passenger car that has fair clearance around the ruts. Follow this road about ½ mile or so to the end, which is a parking lot.

The plants are on top of the rocky slope behind the pipe rail. You can drive to very close to the planting site by using the small dirt road to the right (west) of the pipe rail. After a couple hundred feet, it veers to the left, and goes next to the pipe rail that keeps vehicles out of the planting site. Please be aware, you need to have 4-wheel drive to be able to turn around once you are there. Don’t attempt to drive this short road in a car. You will need for at least one of the waterers for the day to have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, to get the water close enough to be able to walk jugs to the site.

Each plant will have a hardware cloth (metal mesh fencing) tube around it to protect it from marauding wildlife.  If tubes have been knocked down, please set them back up and secure the base so they don’t fall again.

Give each plant about ½ gallon.  Pour slowly so as not to disturb the roots of the fragile seedlings.

Return the cubitainers and jugs to the fire station when you’re done watering.  The next volunteer will surely appreciate it if you fill them up at the fire station.

After you are through for the day:

Fill out a time report with your hours and mileage for the day. Your time on the project starts when you leave your house and ends when you return. Link to time reporting page.

Pour yourself a cold (or hot!) one, and congratulate yourself on a job well done! Sign up to water again!

Sign up to water!

Wildcat Map

Instructions for

Phon D Sutton Recreation Area on the Mesa Ranger District

Safety and Before you go:

Wear your mask when at the site and when at the Forest Service Office. If you are working outside alone or with others who have been fully Covid 19-vaccinated, and you are also vaccinated, there is no requirement to wear masks. 

Watch your footing and watch for traffic when watering.

Let a friend know where you are going and when you expect to return. Remember to call them back to let them know you got home safely!

Read over both job hazard analyses for safety tips.

Fill out and sign the Volunteer Sign Up and Liability Waiver. If any minors will be participating in the watering, also fill out, sign and return the Parent/Guardian Minor Consent Form. Please be sure to include the name and phone number of an emergency contact person. Email the form to pfenner@friendsofthetonto.org at least 1 day before you go.

Volunteer Sign Up and Liability Waiver

Contact others who will be watering the same day as you and make arrangements for meeting to pick up the water, etc. 

Check a map to be sure you know how to get where you’re going.

Picking up water at the Mesa Ranger District Office: 

The water cubies, gallon jugs for watering individual plants, and funnel to be used for the Phon D site will be stored near the picnic tables at the back of the Mesa Ranger District (5140 E. Ingram St., Mesa, AZ 85209). You will pick up, drop off, and refill the containers at the office. Use the hose and spigot on the east side of the building near the picnic tables to refill the containers.

Each cubie holds 5 gallons of water.  Each plant requires ½ gallon of water, so a total of 25 gallons will need to be taken to the site. You can choose to take 5 full containers, or 10 ½ full containers if you want to reduce the weight. Please coordinate with the other volunteers on your watering date(s) to set up who will be responsible for bringing out the water. You are welcome to bring your own gallon jugs, premarked to ½ gal, and funnel.

Milkweed Site:

You should easily spot the plants when you pull into the Phon D parking lot. They are planted inside the curbed planters in the west parking area. Each plant will have a hardware cloth (metal mesh fencing) tube around it to protect it from marauding wildlife. Check in each planted area to make sure you find all the plants, even ones that may be missing a tube. If the tubes have been knocked down, please set them back up and secure the base so they don’t fall again. Give each plant about ½ gallon.  Pour slowly so as not to disturb the roots of the fragile seedlings. Please remember to return the containers, jugs, and funnel to the Mesa Ranger District Office when you’re done watering and refill the containers for the next volunteer.

After you are through for the day:

Fill out a time report with your hours and mileage for the day. Your time on the project starts when you leave your house and ends when you return. Link to time reporting page.

Pour yourself a cold (or hot!) one, and congratulate yourself on a job well done! Sign up to water again!


Now Signup!

We’re using Signup.com to organize the watering. Here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:

1) Click this link to see our SignUp for Phon Dhttps://signup.com/go/eJRRBDd

OR CLick this link to see our SignUp for Wildcathttps://signup.com/go/ExDZcRx

2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.

3) Sign up! It’s Easy – you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on Signup.com.