With the help of volunteers, the National Elk Refuge gets an official Shed Shed

(Jackson, Wyo.) - Though the phrase, “the Shed Shed” seems redundant, it’s the appropriate nickname given to a structure near completion on the National Elk Refuge, one that came to be through conservation partnerships and community service volunteers. Each spring, thousands of pounds of elk antlers are collected on the National Elk Refuge. The antlers are then stored until they’re bundled and sold at a public auction in May. For years, the refuge hasn't had a secure and adequate-sized facility for these antlers. As a result, they would store them in multiple locations around the Elk Refuge. That’s where the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance came into play, two labor union organizations committed to habitat and wildlife conservation and community service work. The IBEW represents approximately 750,000 active members and retirees who work in a wide variety of fields, including utilities, construction, telecommunications, broadcasting, manufacturing, railroads, and government. Bruce Johnson, an organizer for Wyoming’s IBEW Local Union 322, had read about the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and its conservation initiative that organizes Union members who share a passion for the outdoors to complete hands-on, community-based conservation projects. It piqued his interest in identifying a service project somewhere in Wyoming where the Local Union 322 could volunteer trade skills that would benefit conservation work in the state. Johnson connected with USA staff at a membership development conference, and the meeting resulted in outreach to the Department of the Interior to find pending Wyoming conservation projects in need of volunteer assistance. The National Elk Refuge submitted five potential projects for consideration. The one most appealing to both the IBEW and USA was the construction of a 20’ x 26’ storage shed for housing the antlers collected on the Refuge. “So many of our members are elk hunters,” said Johnson. “There was a lot of interest for this particular project, and we could offer the trade skills to make it happen.” USA Development Manager Walt Ingram agreed it was a perfect fit for their group, and the project was selected. Roughly 40 volunteers donated their time to construct the shed, including building parts of the structure off-site, hauling them to the Refuge headquarters, and assembling the shed on site. Johnson had tee shirts made up for those that worked on the project, with the Local Union 322 logo on the front and the phrase “Shed Shed” prominently displayed on the back. In addition to referencing an outbuilding, a ‘shed’ is a term often used to describe an antler that has dropped off a bull elk in the spring. “We had some fun with the name,” said Johnson. “And it really added to the team dynamics during the construction.” Numerous businesses provided services or donated materials for free or at reduced costs. They included: - Evans Construction - Four Corners Concrete - Teton Trusses - Jackson Lumber - TruLog Siding - Garage Door Handy Man - Lower Valley Energy REA - 98 Electric - Echo Services - Mountain Electric *Feature Photo: IBEW Local Union 322 workers construct a much-needed shed that will store elk antlers on the National Elk Refuge. h/t National Elk Refuge / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news