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!

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