This is the first mine reclamation completed in Tulare County, and this past weekend’s volunteer effort was the culmination of five years of reclamation work at Dry Creek Preserve.
On November 14, about 22 students from Golden West’s AP Environmental Science class, taught by Jeff Thompson, and several other volunteers devoted their Saturday to completing a major restoration project at Dry Creek Preserve that will benefit the entire community and a growing population of wildlife for generations to come.
A former gravel mine, the Dry Creek Preserve is an example of how even the most heavily altered land can be restored to a productive habitat. Much of the preserve’s vegetation had been scraped clean during the mining process, as had a significant amount of top soil. Over the years, volunteers have contributed hours of labor to replanting trees, seeding native grasses, and restabilizing hillsides to make the preserve a healthy habitat for plants, animals, and—soon—human visitors.
The volunteers helped Sequoia Riverlands Trust complete the slope stabilization work required to officially complete the Dry Creek Preserve’s mine reclamation project. They seeded two acres with native grasses, flowers and shrubs, and laid out about 18,000 square feet of erosion blankets to protect the steeper slopes.
Not only did these motivated students accomplish a remarkable amount of work, but they learned a lot about habitat restoration and mining reclamation. And they had fun. According to SRT Conservation Director Hilary Dustin, “I received several first-hand reports of the fun part, which is pretty good considering the rigor of the work.”
We’d also like to thank volunteer Andrew Glazier, who was an inspirational crew leader, and John Greening for documenting the day with photographs (and racing out for more hot dogs to feed the larger-than-expected volunteer corps). And thanks to Bobby Kamansky and his student, Bruce, who ably applied their shovels to prep the site on the previous day.
Teachers, parents, students, and prospective volunteers should contact Sequoia Riverlands Trust to get involved in future habitat restoration projects by visiting our website (www.sequoiariverlands.org). You can also contact the Education Coordinator, Laura, at (559) 738-0211 x105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.