News.bytes Extra, issue 228

Earth Day celebrations 2006 - BLM California


Desert Discovery Center, Barstow:

On Saturday April 22, the community of Barstow celebrated Earth Day at the Desert Discovery Center. (The DDC is a partnership between the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Barstow Unified School District, Barstow Community College, Mojave River Valley Museum, City of Barstow, and Discovery Trails, a non-profit organization).

Below: Little Miss Earthday, Miranda Wessel-Almon, took time in her busy schedule to paint a pet rock at the Discovery Center Kid's Zone table
Little Miss Earthday paints a pet rock as a ladybug

The DDC was full of displays hosted by environmentally conscious organizations such as the Mojave National Preserve, Aquarian Services, the Wilderness Coalition, Goldstone Satellite Tracking Station, and the Master Composters, among others. The City of Barstow provided information, and also gave away free t-shirts to anyone who could answer a waste disposal question. Kids visiting the DDC could paint a rock or make a puppet using recycled materials. On the back patio, members of the Fort Irwin’s Department of Public Works and All-Pro Environmental displayed a large variety of live snakes, scorpions, and tarantulas -- so people could see the varied species of animals living in the Mojave Desert and around the world.

earth-friendly vendors displayed their wares
Above: Tinker Farm vendors display their wares of recycled craft items

The front foyer of the DDC was home to venders, including displaying products made from, or celebrating, natural resources. Food and drinks for the day were served by the Discovery Trails Corporation and members of the Barstow High School Science Club.

Throughout the day, various workshops were held to better educate the public about environmentally conscious means of gardening. The Rainbird Corporation hosted a drip irrigation workshop, and the Master Composters hosted several workshops though out the day on composting, solar heated green houses, and transforming desert soil. The DDC interns and volunteers also wrote and performed a play that celebrated Earth Day and focused on teaching simple but important lessons on how everybody can be more earth-friendly.

The day’s event educated several hundred people on how they can make a difference in their community and become better stewards of our scarce natural resources.

Below: The Discovery Center interns and student volunteers wrote and performed an Earth Day play with an important environmental message:
four of the Discovery Center interns and student volunteers perform in the Earth Day play

Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument:

Earth Day was celebrated at the Visitor Center of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument on Friday, April 21. About 235 people attended the event, that ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Several community groups provided exhibits with thems of water conservation and drought-tolerant plant landscaping. The event offered indoor exhibits, a butterfly garden display, native grasses and a wide variety of desert plants in bloom. Guided nature walks were enjoyed by over fifty visitors where they saw examples of adaptations by desert plants and animals, heard about Native American uses of plants, and discussed how everyday decisions can improve sustainability of the earth.

Below: a guided nature walk:

The patio of the Visitor Center provided a variety of booths from community groups including the Coachella Valley Water District, Mission Springs Water District, city of Palm Desert Landscaping Department, Desert Horticultural Society and a National Monument station with native food plants of the region. Eight volunteers of the Friends of the Desert Mountains participated in the event as bookstore operators, nature walk guides, serving refreshments and distributing free water bottles. The National Monument's cooperative association, Friends of the Desert Mountains, sponsored the event.

a display of native plants

On the following day, the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument was represented at a popular community event at the The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. A booth -- which was viewed by over two thousand visitors -- was manned by the Friends of the Desert Mountains. This large event is held annually for the community of desert cities to celebrate Earth Day in unison.

Below: an artist paints during the national monument event:
an artist sets up to paint at the monument


Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve, near Redding:

About 25 volunteers took part in a Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve (HCCP) Earth Day Cleanup, on Saturday, April 22. The HCCP is an area cooperatively managed by BLM and the Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve Group. After a HCCP/BLM sponsored Bird Walk, volunteers picked up trash along about 5 miles of roadside, and the Clear Creek bridge abutments were painted over due to graffiti.

a volunteer paints over graffiti on a bridge

Volunteers also hiked along Clear Creek and pickup up garbage that has washed down after heavy winter rains. The Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve is surrounded by BLM public lands within the Clear Creek Greenway cooridor west of Redding. After the cleanup HCCP and BLM provided a BBQ along with door prizes for the volunteers. Folks from 10 to 90 years of age came out to help out on this cleanup. The HCCP is part of the Clear Creek Greenway which includes about 3000 acres of public land highly important for neotropical birds and salmon. BLM has an ongoing salmon-restoration program going on within the Greenway which hosts a salmon spawning run, consisting of tens of thousands of salmon yearly.

picking up trash along the roadside

Other 2006 Spring events at the Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve

BLM California News.bytes, issue 228