In answer to Katie Couric’s tweet on Earth Day, I sent her a picture of volunteers planting trees. I was surprised when she replied “Awesome! Thank you for sharing – and planting!” Little did she know that there was so much more behind that photo I sent her on Twitter.
In celebration of Earth Week, I participated in a nature planting project in Corn Creek Field hosted by the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (DWNR). It was my colleague Sheryl Capil who found this volunteer event. She invited everyone in our department and I gladly committed to join her.
Since volunteers were encouraged to bring their families, Sheryl brought her boys along. I paired up with her second son Colin while she teamed up with her eldest son Noah. We pulled weeds and dug holes with a shovel to plant native trees. Also there to join us were our other colleagues Julia Fay and Toni Dean. Toni also brought along her son Aidan.
Corn Creek, the hub of DWNR, is located a few miles past the I-95 North turn-off leading to Mount Charleston. I can't believe I've never heard of this protected area before. If it weren't for this volunteer opportunity, I wouldn’t have discovered this lovely place. Did you know that the DNWR covers 1.6 million acres? It’s home to more than 600 desert bighorn sheep and it's the largest refuge outside of Alaska.
At the end of our tree-planting session, we all spent time in the Visitors Center. They had several educational and interactive items on display. I couldn’t tell whether it was the kids or the grown-ups who had more fun here.
We also enjoyed walking around the Coyote Trail and found all sorts of desert plants and animals including a lizard (camouflaging on a rock), an owl (sleeping on a tree), and even a 5-foot snake (that was harmlessly slithering by).
It was a gorgeous day for being outdoors. Not only did we do our share in celebrating Earth Week but we also learned so much in the process. Perhaps most fulfilling was being one with nature. It made us all grateful that we are surrounded by so much beauty in the desert. It's up to us to preserve all this and give back to Mother Earth.
Note: This event happened back in April 19, 2014 in Corn Creek Field inside Nevada's Desert National Wildlife Refuge.
Learn more about Desert National Wildlife Refuge here.