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National Public Lands DayBLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 551

National Public Lands Day was a hit at the BLM’s Desert Discovery Center

Mojave Max led the way for everyone in Barstow on NPLD

a large group poses for photo in front of an adobe building

The BLM Barstow Field Office’s Desert Discovery Center (DDC) hosted this year’s National Public Lands Day event, inside the building and outside on the grounds.  A large gathering from the Barstow community showed up this past Saturday for community service and to learn more about the surrounding landscape.

Members of the Barstow Career Institute, the Barstow Fire Department, employees from the local Old Navy and other motivated citizens came out early Saturday morning to help continue the reopening of the DDC.  Led by BLM and DDC staff the day commenced with the cleaning of the DDC’s 12 acre parkland area.  After collecting more than 250 pounds of garbage and refuse these hardy souls spent the rest of the morning painting the seven shade Ramadas/structures.  The painting reflects a commitment from BLM to continue the new community walking path started by the local hospital.  The path will eventually connect the City of Barstow’s local grade school, the senior center, the hospital and the Desert Discovery Center together with a safe walking path.  The new paint matches both the hospital and blends in better with the surrounding environment. (story with more photos continues below)

a boy looks at desert tortoises in an enclosure
A brand new Junior Ranger takes time to ponder the Desert Discovery Center’s local wildlife.

“Events like this help connect the community of Barstow with their public lands and the opportunities offered within them” said Rob Berger, Barstow Field Office’s Acting Field Manager.  Rob and his wife Kena jumped into the middle of things when the painting started and got to know staff members of the DDC and the general public.

While crews were cleaning and painting, the DDC building was open for the general public to come and learn about desert safety, environmental stewardship and public lands’ recreational opportunities.  Priscilla Ray of Main St Murals directed the kids’ art club by creating new artistic masterpieces of desert animal clay modeling.  BLM Park Ranger Art Basulto had plants and animals typical of the Mojave Desert to touch and learn about.  Ranger Dora McKeever of the National Park Service’s Mojave Natural Preserve showed everyone how to travel safely in the desert.  An appearance by Mojave Max led to further fun and photos for kids of all ages.

Jane Laraman-Brockhurst, the Director of the DDC, stated that the NPLD event working in concert with other programs like “Animal Feeding Time”, “Kids’ Art Club” and the “Monthly String Jam” help bring the greater Barstow community together.

This is also the first step of BLM’s concept plan for the parkland area.  In the coming month a Student Conservation Corp group will finish painting the structures and complete the actual trail itself, said BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner Brad Mastin.  The BLM will be hosting another community conservation day on Saturday October 20th in which the public can meet these young volunteers and help with trail construction and yard restoration.

Volunteers were rewarded for their hard work with coupons from Del Taco and fee free coupons to visit a local National Park.

The Desert Discovery Center is a 7,000 square foot facility surrounded by 12 acres of public land located in the heart of Barstow, California. For further information and to join the Desert Discovery Center volunteer team doing GREAT things in our desert community, drop into the center at 831 Barstow Road in Barstow, and speak with our team. Otherwise contact the BLM at (760) 252-6000 or the DDC at (760) 252-6060.

cleaning up litter
BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner Brad Mastin led the morning cleanup of the DDC grounds.

women and child pose for photo
Jane Laraman-Brockhurst Director of the Desert Discovery Center & some of her staff.

children divide their attention between a toad and the photographer
BLM Park Ranger Art Basulto showing the public wildlife of the Mojave.

people in red shirts painting a shade structure
Local residents painting the Parkland shade Ramadas.

young people in red T-shirts paint a shade structure
Young adults from the Barstow Career Institute helped clean up the land then paint the old structures.

firefighters clear trails
The Barstow Fire Department cleaning up trails.

staff at the registration table
BLM employees Bessie Hayes, Larry Blaine & Cecilia Franklin helped with logistics of the event.

kids and adults at art table
Priscilla Ray of Main St Murals & Employees from the local Old Navy help with the Kids’ Art Club.

-  Tim Williamson, Wilderness Specialist, BLM Barstow Field Office (September 2012)

BLM California News.bytes, issue 551 -- 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: 10-04-2012