RENO — While other college students will be heading off to tan in Cancun, a team of University of Nevada, Reno students will be volunteering in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge in southern Nevada. The group will be investing their time and energy into maintaining public hiking trails, naturalizing unauthorized vehicle routes and planting native vegetation.
The students will be camping out under the stars from March 18 through 24 in undeveloped campsites, and spend their days working with representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Friends of Nevada Wilderness staff also will be rolling up their sleeves to work alongside the students.
Almost 100 velvet ash trees are set to be planted by the volunteers, and five miles of illegal off-highway routes have been tagged for restoration.
“We want to give these students a one-of-a-kind experience and show them they can contribute to the greater health of the environment,” said Wes Hoskins, forest project coordinator with FNW and the project leader. “We want them to see that Nevada is worth protecting.”
After a week of physically demanding work, students will spend a day at the Red Rock National Conservation Area learning about desert geography and viewing examples of the area wildlife. Dinosaur tracks were recently found in the conservation area, and current residents include grey fox, coyote and golden eagles.
Keep up with the students and their experiences by following the live blog at nevadawild.blogspot.com. Spots are still available for the excuision. Call 324-7667. Transportation and food (except travel meals) are included in the $20 fee.
Donations to support the group’s Alternative Spring Break trip can be made at www.razoo.com/Alternative-Spring-Break-2012, or can be sent to Friends of Nevada Wilderness, P.O. Box 9754, Reno, NV 89507.