BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 522

Students learning, building at Little Darby 

Students from Willits Charter School and Humboldt State University (HSU) in Arcata, and members of the California Conservation Corps are pitching in to help the BLM Arcata Field Office improve the Little Darby Nature Trail that loops across public lands east of Willits in Mendocino County.

Charter school students have adopted just over a mile of the trail and are using it as an outdoor classroom. BLM staff members from Arcata have joined the students every Friday for projects including plant and fungi identification, water quality monitoring, wildlife camera maintenance and geomorphology lessons (the origins and characteristics of landforms).

students work with samples from a stream
Students learn how to take water samples at the creek flowing through the Little Darby area. During another visit, the class poses for a group photo taken by their classmate, Daniel, 17.
a group of students poses for a photo in a forested area

"Don't Feed the Wildlife spelled out in animal shapes
The trips to Little Darby also inspired artistic creations including these posters by Mateo (top photo) and Aurora.
a sketch of two types of mushrooms: morel and angel wings

While the young pupils have been learning, students in an HSU environmental education and interpretation practicum class have been working on interpretive signs that will be installed along trails to help visitors learn more about their surroundings.

But before the signs go in a crew from the California Conservation Corps based in Ukiah will visit the area to complete a number of projects including trail realignments, riparian area restoration, downed tree removal and storm damage repair. Work will be underway this spring and summer.

The Little Darby Nature Trail was built in 1978 by a Youth Conservation Corps group from Ukiah. One trail loop crosses through the moist Douglas-fir forest and its riparian areas. A second, longer loop takes hikers through dry brushland and chaparral plant communities for high-elevation views of the surrounding mountains.

- Leisyka Parrott, interpretive specialist, BLM Arcata Field Office (March 7, 2012)

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 522 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.