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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 426

A night in the great outdoors

What a night!  The California Technical Education Center and the BLM California Desert District introduced the great outdoors to ten high school and junior college students one weekend last month. (text continues below)

Two people sit on folding chairs in the dark, using night vision goggles
Using night vision goggles to observe wildlife in the dark

Campers stand around a campfire in the night
Warming up around a campfire, in the cool desert night 

Purple flowers in patches across a hillside, with blue sky in the background
Wildflowers bloomed in patches on surrounding hillsides

The students are part of the new Wildlands Management class in association with the FairPlex Education Association.  Students spent one night at Steel Peak in Riverside, monitoring bats, practicing Leave No Trace skills, and cleaning up shot gun shells left by the public.  In the evening they used night vision goggles to learn about wildlife that live inside abandoned mines.

Sterling White, the abandoned mine lands program manager for BLM's California Desert District, led a workshop discussing the history of mining, closing abandoned mines, and wildlife monitoring.

During the morning Noël Stephens, BLM outdoor education specialist, took the class on a hike to the top of Steel Peak and discussed land management issues and Leave No Trace. Tom Sherman, BLM California Desert District aviation manager and local historian, gave the students a brief history of the area and why there were so many mine shafts in the area. Chuck Robbins, the BLM's Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office mitigation and education specialist, made sure it all ran smoothly and fed the group with his world famous cooking.

On Saturday the students cleaned up their camp and a target shooting area nearby.

- Noël Stephens, BLM California Desert District, 3/19/10

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 426

Last updated: 04-09-2010