Friday, March 23, 2012

Alternative Spring Break: Fireside Smiles

Alternative Spring Break: The Last Sunset

The sun sets on the last day of Alternative Spring Break 2012 after a week of restoration, re-naturalization, and fun in wild Nevada!

Alternative Spring Break: Recycling In More Ways Than One

Kurt cooks up leftovers - delicious and eco-friendly!!

Alternative Spring Break: Saturday Smiles

After a day in the Red Rock NCA, Spring Breakers are ready to relax around the campfire one last time.

Alternative Spring Break: Ancient Art

Pictographs are painted or inked onto rock, while petroglyphs are carved or etched into the stone. Just another lesson learned in the Red Rock NCA on Alternative Spring Break 2012!

Alternative Spring Break: Seeing the Southern Nevada Sights

Kelli and Darcy explore just one of the 18 designated wilderness areas in Clark County.

Alternative Spring Break: Hello Hikers!

A group of volunteers come in after a hike in the La Madre Wilderness. La Madre Wilderness, only a dozen miles from Las Vegas, is known for its soaring sandstone cliffs and petroglyphs.

Alternative Spring Break: Wildlife Sighting

Spotted - a ring-tail cat hopping around in the bush at the Willow Springs picnic area! This shy creature is a rare sight for human eyes.

Alternative Spring Break: Education

Learning about the Mojave at the Red Rock NCA visitors center.

Alternative Spring Break: Approaching Red Rock NCA

Can you guess where it got its name?

Alternative Spring Break: Sponsor Spotlight

A huge wild Nevada hug to PortaJane for providing clean portable toilets!!

Alternative Spring Break: Swag Time

Harry Konwin of Fish and Wildlife Service comes out to thank the volunteers and pass out hats and pins.

Alternative Spring Break: Stretch It Out Two!!

Kelli shows us the butterfly stretch.

Alternative Spring Break: Stretch It Out!!

Colin leads the team in a stretch!

Alternative Spring Break: Last Circle

The volunteers circle up for the last time - we're getting a little teary-eyed!

Alternative Spring Break: The Last Day

Volunteers munch on bagels and orange juice on the last full day of Alternative Spring Break 2012.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Alternative Spring Break: Cleaning Up In More Ways Than One

Thursday night dish crew gets their hands dirty in a different way!

Alternative Spring Break: Before and After

Desert National Wildlife Refuge, March 2012

Alternative Spring Break: And They Are Done!

The Spring Breakers return from their last day of work! Tomorrow, a fun day exploring the Red Rock National Conservation Area before heading home on Saturday.

Alternative Spring Break: Sponsor Spotlight

Without generous support grants from REI, trips like Alternative Spring Break wouldn't be possible. A huge wild Nevada hug to REI for their continued love for Nevada's wild places!

Alternative Spring Break: The Art of Sign Installation

Alternative Spring Break: Smile!

Alternative Spring Break: Time Lapse On A Cloudy Desert Day

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Alternative Spring Break: A Day of Re-Naturalization and Slingshots

Spring Breakers got their hands dirty during their second day of work. The team headed down to the Corn Creek Visitors’ Center, where over 100 trees and bushes were waiting to be lovingly planted.

After a quick stop at the Pahrump Pool Fish Refugium, the morning was spent naturalizing a drained pond that had been used when the Bullfrog Line was running between Las Vegas and Tonopah. The barren slopes of the pond were covered with flags designating planting spots when the volunteers arrived.

When they left, small plants with protective berms covered the area. Even staff from the Fish and Wildlife Service pitched in to make Corn Creek a more natural place!

After lunch and a lesson on the Desert Refuge and its inhabitants, shovels were picked up and willows were planted along the stream.

Then the fun began. Matt Flores of the Great Basin Institute introduced volunteers to an experimental method of distributing seed balls: via slingshot. A seed ball is a bunch of seeds contained in a hard, protective coating. Volunteers split into teams to see who could launch the seed balls the farthest. While not quite as effective as had been hoped – the plan was for the seed balls to break open, but they stayed intact – the entertainment value was off the charts!

After a long day of planting and healthy competition, the volunteers tucked into vegan chili – with pork chops for the omnivores!