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News.bytes Extra, issue 488

BLM helps North Coast youth get outdoors

The BLM's Arcata Field Office has been busy getting North Coast youth outdoors, where they could experiencing environments ranging from the coastal tidepools to ancient redwoods.  In addition to providing educational opportunities, the outings have given young people a chance to improve their environment.

More than 900 students from 16 Eureka area elementary schools descended on the South Spit, Humboldt Bay earlier this month for the annual Ocean Day restoration and aerial art project.   The BLM Arcata Field Office partnered with the California Coastal Conservancy and Friends of the Dunes for the project in which students pick up trash and pull invasive beach grass before forming an aerial art image with a conservation message.

many teams of students range over the coastal dunes
Student work teams are spread as far as the eye can see among the dunes at the South Spit as they work to rid the dunes of invasive beach grass.

a line of school buses parks on a road near the beach
School buses line up to await the return of the working students.

a large crowd of students trace the outlines of a fish and the word "coexist" on the beach
Photo courtesy of Gary Todoroff
This year's aerial art, an image designed on the beach by members of Friends of the Dunes, is a salmon and a reminder that we must all strive to coexist.

Prior to the beach day, Friends of the Dunes staff members visited all the schools to inform the pupils that their neighborhoods are connected to the beaches and oceans through storm drains.  They addressed the importance of recycling and litter reduction so that neighborhood trash does not end up on the coast.  The Ocean Day event takes place at the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Cooperative Management Area overseen by the BLM, Humboldt County and the California Department of Fish and Game.

Another opportunity to learn about the ocean environment and the California Coastal National Monument was the focus of a Youth to Youth project involving students from Trinidad and Fortuna.  In the project four Trinidad sixth-grade students guided the fourth and fifth-grade Fortuna students through tidepools.  The older students helped explain the unique creatures that can survive an environment that changes with the daily tides.  For many of the Fortuna students, it was their first time experiencing a tidepool.

youngsters walk gingerly among the rocks surrounding a tide pool
Fourth and fifth-graders from Fortuna explore the inter-tidal zone near Trinidad.

Just inland from the coast, students from Fortuna's East High School worked with the BLM to build a replica of a railroad sand shack near the logging ghost town of Falk.  The students used wood from the original building to create the replica at the BLM's Headwaters Education Center, which is a restored locomotive engine barn.

students and teachers work on the outer walls of a small building
The construction team raises the walls on the sand shack structure.  The original building contained an apparatus to dry sand that was spread on railroad tracks to improve traction for locomotives that hauled redwood logs from the forest to the Falk mill.

Jeff Fontana, Public Affairs Officer, BLM Northern California District

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 488 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page. 

Last updated: 07-06-2011