Tucson Field Office and partners host NPLD youth event on National Conservation Area

The BLM’s Tucson Field Office, in partnership with the Empire Ranch Foundation and BLM grazing lessee and Vera Earl Ranch owner Ian Tomlinson, celebrated National Public Lands Day with 4th graders from Vail Unified School District’s Desert Willow Elementary.  

a group of forth grade students try on various gear from law enforcement and fire programs
Students try on and check out law enforcement and fire gear. Photo by Alan Nyiri.

The “outdoor classroom” event was held at the Historic Empire Ranch Headquarters and along the Heritage Discovery Trail on the BLM-managed Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.  

A group of three students with two of them eating beef jerky sticks and smiling
Students enjoy beef sticks provided by BLM lessee Ian Tomlinson. Photo by Alan Nyiri.

Students rotated through five stations and had fun learning about the critical biodiversity in the area, past and present ranching practices, important historic properties, responsible recreation ethics, the importance of preserving cultural resources, fire's role on the landscape, and law enforcement's role in protecting the area's resources and ensuring staff and public safety.  

Group of students sitting and standing in an old barn filled with ranching equipment. Two adults are standing in front of the students.
BLM partner Empire Ranch Foundation talks to students about ranching practices of long ago. Photo by Alan Nyiri.

The in-person learning complimented a BLM-created and partner-reviewed class curriculum the teachers used the week before the visit to teach students about the importance of the National Conservation Area as a part of the Sky Islands Landscape and as a working landscape for more than 130 years. Through the classroom and in-person learning, students received a firsthand glimpse of the BLM’s multiple use/sustained yield mission.  

Two men stand next to a brick wall while showing a group of students various artifacts
Archaeologist Clint Dalton shows the the students artifacts. Photo by Alan Nyiri.

The day of fun culminated in a short learning review and the students receiving grab bags with National Public Lands Day t-shirts, coupons, Junior Ranger books, Smokey Bear items and 4th grade Every Kid in a Park passes. 

Students stand around a table and get to look at and touch various animal pelts
Students feel various animal pelts a the wildlife station. Photo by Alan Nyiri.

June Lowery, Public Affairs Specialist

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