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BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 556

Halloween Conservation & Safety Treats Delivered at El Mirage

a group poses for Halloween photo
BLM Interpretive Specialist Rose Beardshear and BLM Park Ranger Art Basulto along with the SCA WildCorp help spread the treat of conservation this past Saturday at El Mirage.

Before the shadows of the moon descended on the El Mirage Off-Highway Vehicle Area the Saturday before Halloween, visitors were treated with messages of conservation and safety (and of course, candy).  The El Mirage Visitor Center hosted a Halloween conservation and safety day with staff and volunteers all getting in on the fun.  Led by BLM Interpretative Specialist Rose Beardshear, Park Ranger Art Basulto and the Friends of El Mirage staff, guests both young and old were presented with the opportunity to walk through the “Maze of Safety”.  The maze included many stops where everyone could test their mettle through feats of skill (tossing recycled trash in the appropriate net), strength (tossing tennis-ball-themed garbage items into the a distance trash can), knowledge (a quick game of El Mirage Jeopardy anyone?), speed (riding a short course on tricycles in full OHV safety gear) and bravery (touching one of the many native critters of the desert).  Participants were given a checklist of challenges to have marked off -- and each station was another opportunity to learn about the desert environment, an important safety tip, or ways in which each of us can ensure the future use of all public areas.

The day started with a rehabilitation event. Boy Scout Troop 53 out of Phelan, California worked with the NLCS Youth Corp (WildCorp) to help clear an area of debris.  Directed by BLM Maintenance Vicki Salazar, both groups performed a host of conservation activities including: raking up old vegetation, cutting out invasive weeds and picking up nails & garbage. These endeavors are helping the BLM clean up the old Visitor Center building and the surrounding area.  Afterwards, the Youth Corp had a special environmental program for the Scouts where everyone took a walk into the desert to locate specific plants and animal tracks.  The Boy Scouts were working on aspects of the camping merit badge, a requirement of becoming an Eagle Scout. 

Youth clean an outdoor area
Boy Scout Troop 53 works to clean out the old Visitors’ Center Yard

a young man shows many rusty nails sticking to a wheeled magnetic sweeper
Troop members picked up almost forty pounds of old nails.

Youth clean up a yard
NLCS Youth Corp members assisted Troop 53 members in readying the yard for visitors.

Visitors look at desert plants near the visitors center
Youth Corp Project Leader Nathan Franks points out a unique Mojave Desert plant species.

youngsters toss bean bags into baskets
Everyone loves a quick game of “Jump at Recycling”.

visitors toss tennis balls at a wastebasket and inflatable hoop target
BLM Budget Technician Deborah Flores conducts a game of “Trash that Garbage” for kids of all ages.

people show youngsters creatures of the desert
Peggy Hazel of the Friends of El Mirage shows everyone what can be found in the desert.

a woman in a balloon costume cheers on a game player
BLM Interpretive Specialist Rose Beardshear leads everyone in a game of El Mirage Jeopardy.

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

 BLM California News.bytes, issue 556 -- 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: 11-06-2012