News.bytes News.bytes Extra, issue 248


As summer ends, so does the new Desert Restoration Internship Program hosted by the BLM Barstow Field Office. This summer the Barstow Field Office was successful in recruiting nearly 30 students ages 15-17 to participate in a desert restoration project funded by the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division.

Interns from this year's first session pose for a group portrait with BLM staffers
Interns from session one pose with BLM staffers

The program provided students with an opportunity to practice restoration techniques in a desert environment while learning about conservation, resource management, and environmental stewardship. The restoration took place in Juniper Flats, a diverse landscape of mountains, canyons, and washes in the northern foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains near the town of Apple Valley.

Juniper Flats, where restoration programs took place:
Landscape at Juniper Flats, where restoration took place

The two four-week sessions consisted of one week of training and three weeks of field work. Students received training in CPR/First Aid, Leave No Trace ethics, cultural resource awareness, desert safety, restoration technique and proper use of tools. Although desert temperatures exceeded 100 degrees on a daily basis, there were no heat-related incidents. With safety as a number one priority, students worked in 45-minute increments with 15-minute breaks allowing plenty of time to hydrate and rest up.

A group leader points out tools and locations for the next project...
A group leader points out items and locations for the next project

...and the interns go to work installing route signs:
Placing a marker post

The field work focused on the restoration of OHV intrusions within the limited use area of Juniper Flats and route signing. The crews were successful in restoring 52 intrusions consisting of 5.3 miles of trails -- using restoration techniques such as vertical and horizontal mulching, soil pitting, and texture and rock work.

Students planting
Students planting

Photos of one location, before...

...and after:

The Desert Restoration Program was a huge success and involved the entire Barstow Field Office staff -- from recruiting and training to transporting and supervising. “It really brought the staff together," said Rose Beardshear, Barstow’s volunteer coordinator. "Not only did the program accomplish a tremendous amount of on-the-ground work, it gave the students a real sense of accomplishment.”

Rose’s favorite part of the program was the last day when the students were required to develop and deliver a Leave No Trace component to the summer day campers at the Desert Discovery Center. Using puppets, crayons, props and a lot of creativity, the interns became instructors for the day.

Interns teaching young campers:
Interns teaching young children

After their teaching debut they were rewarded with a luncheon and a certificate of completion for their hard work.

Smiling interns receive their certificates
Smiling interns receive their certificates

Rose Beardshear, 9/06

BLM California News.bytes, issue 248