Ft. Churchill State Historic Park and River Wranglers hosted the Carson River Festival on Saturday, May 10. High school students throughout the watershed presented activities for the public to learn more about the ecology of the Carson River.

Nine Dayton High School students volunteered at the Festival and learned more about our river in the process.

Theresa Hardy presented an activity about wild horses. Hardy adopted a mustang from the Warm Springs Correctional Center and was interested in learning about issues regarding wild horses in Nevada. She met with Bonnie Compston with the Wild Horse Preservation Society and Don Alt, a local rancher, to explore the various viewpoints regarding wild vs. feral horses.

“I agreed with both points of view.” said Hardy. “They just need to find a common ground and a way to work together.”

Zaria Hanses and Christy McCoy worked with John Swisher, Nevada Department of Wildlife, with Operation Game Thief – a display of poached animals from Nevada.

Kelly Elloyan, DHS sophomore, met with Pat Fried, Great Basin Sports, to learn about boating safety. As part of his job shadow, Elloyan traveled to Lake Tahoe and worked with a large group of disabled students to teach them the importance of wearing and properly fitting life vests. He brought an activity from Kids Don’t Float safety program to the Carson River Festival.

Meghan Hines prepared an activity comparing reptiles and amphibians. She used a hands-on activity to explore the differences in skin texture and eggs. She brought her pet turtles and talked about how damaging it can be to release non-native animals such as turtles and goldfish into the environment.

Ashley Putzer did her job shadow with George Baumgardner, curator of natural history at the Nevada State Museum. She did gyotaku (Japanese fish printing) with children at the river.

Lilli Lund explored her interest in recycling by meeting with Chet Sergeant from Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. She researched information about the impacts of paper and plastic bags on our environment. Lund offered an activity to color cloth grocery bags sponsored by River Wranglers and Lyon County Room Tax Grant.

Kids got a chance to explore bird migration with Kaci Mace. She met with Robin Powell, Nevada Audubon Society, and developed an activity for the kids to learn more about birds and competition. Kaci also gave books about Important Birds in Nevada to interested attendees.

Chris Sikora did his job shadow with the Carson City Fire Department. Sikora was interested in wild fires and the importance of developing defensible space around homes. He referred to Living with Fire curriculum from UNR’s Cooperative Extension as he provided information to the public.

River Wranglers appreciates all the support from Dayton Valley. Smith’s Food and Drug Store donated food for breakfast for the volunteers. Community Roots donated a hardy Silver Maple tree to commemorate Park Supervisor, Jim Prida’s retirement. The Dayton Valley Conservation District sponsored plants so each family attending the Festival took home a lilac bush from the NDF Nursery. Warren Shaul, DHS science teacher, was the official event photographer. Central Lyon Youth Connections sponsored face painting to add a touch of color and festivity to the day.

Support comes from Carson Water Subconservancy District, Western Nevada RC&D, Smallwood Foundation, Dayton Valley Conservation District and Patagonia. A Lyon County Room Tax Board grant promotes advertising.