According to Wikipedia, “workamping”, a contraction of "work camping" is a form of RV camping involving singles, couples or families who work part-time or full-time. The people who are Workamping can be called Workampers. The term "Workamper" was coined by and is a registered trademark of Workamper News.
Workampers generally are retired or working part-time, and exchange volunteer work for RV-camping privileges. There are many settings for workamping, national and state parks and other public recreation lands, private RV campgrounds, etc. There are currently two workamping couples in residence at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge.
Barry & Lynn Burkhardt entered retirement three years ago and began their "legacy" work as full time RV volunteers. Their experiences include two summers with the Corp of Engineers in Branson, Missouri, at Table Rock Dam visitors center, and two seasons with the Georgia State Park system at Highland Walk Golf course. The 2013 winter was their first experience with a national wildlife refuge, in Anahuac Texas. They worked with Bill and Carol Powell who extended an invitation to apply at Hagerman NWR.
Bill and Carol are veterans at Hagerman, spending each fall at the Refuge since 2009. They also returned in spring, 2013, to assist with BirdFest Texoma.. The Powells began workamping in October 2003 at Cibola NWR, in Arizona. Since then they have been at Great Bay, New Hampshire; Mattamaskeet, North Carolina; Lower Suwanee, Florida Panther, Merritt Island, all in Florida; Mackay Island, North Carolina; and in Texas, Hagerman and Anahuac. They also volunteered for TPWD at Sabine National Battlefield in Sabine, Texas. They note that all Refuges & Texas Parks & Wildlife furnished a full RV site in exchange for 32-48 hours of service per couple.
Carol has worked primarily with records, digitizing pictures & slides, office work, Visitor Center desk, school programs, and trash collection. Bill received DOI certification to run various types of heavy machinery on all refuges. He also has worked with school programs, maintained building & grounds, upgraded internet system in Cibola and of course picked up trash.
Since arriving at Hagerman, Barry and Lynn have cleaned, cleaned, cleaned and spruced up outdoor areas including picnic grounds, and restrooms! They mow regularly and help wherever needed with visitor information and activities, and have worked in the Butterfly Garden, with Youth First and group tours.
Both the Burkardts and the Powells will be at the Visitor Center on Sunday, October 26, at 2:30 pm, ready to share their experiences and answer questions about workamping. Come on out and meet them and enjoy Bill's slides from other Refuges as well! The coffee pot will be on!