U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
BLM Barstow Employees Volunteer at the L.A. County Fair
The L.A. County Fair buzzed with excitement on National Public Lands Day 2012 in September. Eager to decorate a button, sit in the BLM sandrail, watch a clean energy wizard show, explore the General Land Office, and meet a burro from the Wild Horse and Burro Program, children pulled their parents through the gateway to the America’s Great Outdoors area. Three agencies, the Bureau of Land Management, L.A. County, and the Forest Service, collaborate to build exhibits, provide entertainment, and staff America’s Great Outdoors. This year, the BLM really shone and BLM Barstow Field Office employees were in the middle of the action.
At the brand new General Land Office, Debbie Flores and Amy Oechsner showed children how to use a traditional surveyor’s chain to measure distance. Young and old were fascinated to learn that intrepid GLO surveyors mapped the west in this manner. Amy and Debbie awarded the most promising young surveyors embossed apprentice surveyor certificates.
In the afternoon, Debbie, Amy, Mojave Maxine, Seymour Antelope, Smokey the Bear, and Woodsy Owl gathered on a vintage Forest Service truck for a parade through the fairgrounds. Win Waterman and Chuck Smith stole the show in the Barstow sandrail and Barbara Croonquist rode tall on an adopted wild horse. (text continues below)
After the parade, visitors posed for photos with the sandrail while Win and Chuck taught OHV safety and desert safety. More than a few local teachers, club members, and parents brightened upon learning that a BLM employee could visit their school or club with native reptiles and teach about a variety of safety and outdoor subjects through the Jr. Ranger Program.
Win and Chuck helped desert tortoise Mojave Maxine, and her friend Seymour Antelope make one last appearance at the end of the day. Youthful eyes sparkled, and cries of delight filled the air as the two characters, accompanied by their “handlers” Debbie and Amy, returned hugs, and posed for photos with fair-goers.
After the guests went home, the hard-working volunteers enjoyed a pizza, ice cream, and chocolate cake feast in celebration of National Public Lands Day and a another successful year at the L.A. County Fair.
- Amy Oechsner, Archaeologist Technician, BLM Barstow Field Office (October 2012)