U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
|Release Date: 02/15/12|
|News Release No. BLM-UT-GSENM-120215|
Kanab Elementary Students Learn With Mud
Anyone who was ever a kid (read “all of us”) knows, children are instinctively drawn to mud, kind of like moths are to a porch light on a warm summer’s eve. They just cannot help themselves.
So what better way to get children to learn about plant biology than combining their natural attraction to mud with an enthusiastic group of volunteers from Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP), scientists from the Bureau of Land Management’s Kanab Field Office and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, bags of seeds and yes, buckets of mud.
Before the real fun began for 51 4th grade students at Kanab’s elementary school January 27, GSENM botanist Raymond Brinkerhoff, KFO wildlife biologist Lisa Church and rangeland management specialist Carson Gubler took to the classrooms to explain the science behind seed germination and plant growth as well as plant and animal adaptations to the desert environment.
“We used photographs of different local plants and animals to help explain the importance of what we were planting, and how seeds serve as a vital link between plants and animals in our ecosystem,” said Brinkerhoff.
“The kids were really excited to learn about the diversity of the plant and animal life surrounding them,” added Church.
According to GSEP’s environmental education specialist Wade Parsons, “seed balls are nothing more than a mixture of plant seeds coated with compost and soil, covered with clay and rolled into a ball. The clay coating protects the contents from seed-eating insects and animals until rain saturates the clay and the seeds germinate.”
The seed balls were taken to a BLM warehouse for drying and storage until February 10 when more than 100 students from Kanab’s elementary, middle and high schools scattered them over gravel mulch at the new Bureau of Land Management Kanab Complex. The mulch increases moisture retention while preventing soil erosion from occurring and invasive weeds from growing until the native seeds take hold.
Three different plant zones were mapped out around the new complex for the seeding project: a wetlands zone, which will be created by storm runoff; a sagebrush restoration zone around the outside edges of the property; and an ornamental (wildflowers) zone, located at the front of the building.
“I think the entire project was a great learning experience for the students. Not only did they learn about plants in the classroom, they got to get their hands dirty and actually plant the seeds…how fun is that? ” said Parsons.
Volunteers helping with the project were Don and Sue Fox, JoAnna Randoo-Moon, Tana McTyer, Brad Heap and Darlene Anderson.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, recreational and other activities on BLM-managed land contributed more than $130 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 600,000 American jobs. The Bureau is also one of a handful of agencies that collects more revenue than it spends. In FY 2012, nearly $5.7 billion will be generated on lands managed by the BLM, which operates on a $1.1 billion budget. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument 669 South Highway 89A Kanab, UT 84741
|Last updated: 02-17-2012|
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