Sixteen Silver Stage High School students volunteered at the Festival and learned more about our river in the process.
Alex Mitchell and John Lawver presented an activity about wetlands. They met with Ranger Dominic Bravo at the wetlands in Washoe Valley State Park and learned about the habitat created by wetlands that provides nesting and feeding areas for a variety of animals. They presented a Project WET activity called Wetland Metaphor.
Hannah Rowley, Raleigh Fife and Amanda Smith displayed mammal pelts and information about coyotes, bobcats, cougars, beavers, badgers and skunk. Rowley developed an activity booklet for the public to match up the animal to its track. To prepare for the event the students met with State Park Rangers Eric Johnson and Rob Holley.
Rachel Willimott, interested in learning about agriculture, selected animal by-products as her subject. She researched information on-line and worked with Darci Beaton, Yerington, to learn more about the subject. Willimott created an activity to challenge the public to match up the products we use and rely on daily to the livestock animals.
Aquatic insects attracted Bonnie Cooper and she worked with Margie Evans from the Clear Creek Watershed Council to learn more about them. Cooper dressed as an aquatic insect, using the adaptations insects use to survive in water. The kids loved seeing how they get food and defend themselves from predators
Kyle Whetzel and Lyle Fife covered insects and arachnids. They traveled to UNR and met with Professor Kelly Kissine in the biology department. Whetzel featured a display with scorpions and Fife used a collection lent to him from entomologist, Henry Kilmer.
Rebecca Palmer, State Historic Preservation Society, met with Nancy Ussery to explore archaeology in Nevada. Palmer lent a variety of artifact, old bottles, cans, nails and glass, found in Nevada. Ussery developed a “dig” with the help of SSHS teacher, Pauline Rusert.
Bright colors and a paint brush provided the medium for face painter, Aubrey Childs as she decorated faces, arms and hands with flowers and insects. Central Lyon Youth Connections provided the supplies and volunteer to add to the color of the day.
Beth Clark traveled to the Mason Valley Fish Hatchery and worked with Doug Anderson to learn about fish in Nevada. She talked about fish; native vs. non-native species, and provided art activities for the visitors. Carolyn Mosher helped with gyotaku (Japanese fish printing) and wooden fish painting activities.
Tina Wilhelmi plans to volunteer at Lake Lahontan this year and selected a project to expand her knowledge of water bodies in Nevada. She spent the morning job shadowing Bud Stinson with Mason Valley Mosquito Abatement. Together they used nets to catch mosquito minnows, small fish that feed on mosquito larvae. As her project at the river, Wilhelmi helped children release the minnows in the river so they could help control mosquitoes in the Silver Springs area.
Mary Kay Riedl, environmental scientist with Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, worked with Thomas Lane as he explored non-point source pollution. Using an enviroscape model, Lane simulated pollution attributed to residents and showed the impact we have on our river. Non-point source pollution comes from improper use of fertilizer and pesticides, leaky car fluids or illegal disposal of those fluids etc.
Matt Duncan and Harlan Aigner worked together on a popular station, reptiles. Using some of his reptile collection, Duncan talked with the public about issues regarding native and non-native animals. Releasing non-native “pets” can cause problems for the native species. Children were able to hold snakes and lizards as Duncan and Aigner discussed the animals and their habitat requirements.
Before the Festival, Kiley Woosley spent volunteer hours doing streambank restoration with the Dayton Valley Conservation District. She worked with horticulturist, Dan Greytak, to rake in native seeds and cover them with erosion control cloth. Then the cloth was staked with wooden pegs. Woosley used pictures from the restoration project to create a display and talk with the public about the importance of well-vegetated river banks, able to hold soil and control erosion. She also distributed the lilac bushes sponsored by the Dayton Valley Conservation District.
River Wranglers appreciates Ft. Churchill State Historic Park and the Nevada State Park system for co-sponsoring this event. They also received support from Silver Springs organizations. New Hope Recovery Ranch volunteers helped set-up for the event. Burke’s Market supplied ice. Anna Brueher, Silver Stage High School, helped with event posters and materials. The Train Station Concession provided lunch for the teen volunteers. Central Lyon Youth Connections sponsored face painting to add a touch of color and festivity to the day.