In celebration of Earth Day, our Carson City crew headed up to Reno on Sunday for the annual event at Idlewild Park. We set up our booth in preparation for the crowds that were there from 9 am to 5 pm. Representing the entire BLM, the information we provided covered many realms. Our team made brochures on local geological features, key habitats of Nevada, and activities on public lands. In addition, we put together a pamphlet on local wildflowers, the effects fire has on the region, and noxious weeds and integrated pest management. We had many coloring and activity booklets for children, crossword puzzles and scrambles for older youth and adults, all relating to the information being discussed in our various handouts. We had several interactive activities for the public to engage in, including a “Tread Lightly” Pledge for people to sign and magnets with the pledge on it for them to take home. Another hit was a Trash Trivia game that I put together, allowing people to match up various litter items (aluminum cans, plastic bottles, plastic bags, cigarette butts, banana peels, etc.) with the amount of time that item would take to decompose in the environment. People definitely got the message of the importance of not dumping trash because so many of the items take a surprisingly long time to biodegrade! Despite it being rather hot out, the event was a huge success and many people went away much more informed about their public lands and what we do as the BLM.
The following day, we had an environmental education outreach day planned at McCarran Ranch, the 300 acre site of The Nature Conservancy’s first restoration project on the lower Truckee River. Third and Fourth graders were bused out to the site for a few hours to learn about the restoration efforts for the Truckee River, including what healthy habitats are and the importance of conservation. There were five different stations- our team did the Plant Diversity station and a few of us helped with the Water Quality station. There was a Wetlands station with touch pools, an Ecosystem and Invasive Species station, and a River Meanders station. The kids seemed to be really engaged in the activities and most of them were very excited about what they were learning. The outreach day was such a fun event to be a part of, and I am definitely looking forward to our other public outreach events!!