Rio Salado Audubon Center
On October 21st, I, along with 8 other members of SNHS, did manual conservation work at a butterfly habitat at Rio Salado Audubon Center. I planted several, Asclepias erosa, or what is coined “desert milkweed plants”, for migrating monarch butterflies to feed on and host in. Other members also planted Calliandra eriophylla, or what is commonly called “fairy dusters”, for these butterflies to feed on. Along with conserving the environment for the survival in monarchs, we also removed invasive species of plants (i.e. bull weeds) from nearby plants.
Community Outreach Project
I attended the Phoenix Audubon Center trip. We went to the Rio Salado Audubon Center in Phoenix. While we were there, we were split into groups with several other volunteers and asked to plant Milkweed and Fairy Duster plants. These plants are among the only plants utilized by the monarch butterfly. Interestingly, the Rio Salado lays right in the migration path of the monarch butterfly, making it a very important breeding ground. It was pretty manual work, but it was cool to see the sizes of the rocks we dug up and the way groups of strangers could come together to so something good for our environment. We were also asked to go down into the riverbed and dig up an invasive grass. That part was crazy! We had to dig up the root balls that had grown around river rocks and entangled themselves in the roots of other plants. The grass itself grew so thick and so tall we had the hardest time seeing the bases of the grass clusters. It was pretty fun to peel back the plants and throw my body weight onto them to keep them out of the way. The ground under the grasses was cool, too; the dirt filled with slender roots peeled away in layers. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the project. I loved the team I worked with and the way I felt when it was all said and done. It is definitely something I would do again.
Recently we went to the Rio Salado Audubon Center to place plants and remove invasive weeds. We began by planting milkweed plants, the sole host of the monarch butterfly. The area is in the migration path of monarch butterflies and because the area suffered a fire and lost much of the milkweed population, we replaced some of these plants. Later, we went further into the riverbed to remove some of the buffelgrass that was growing there. Buffelgrass is an invasive species of grass native to Africa which has no natural consumer to keep it under control. It is harming the local environment, so it needs to be removed as much as possible. We spent time digging up all the buffelgrass we could see in the area and bagging it to be taken away. I participated in this project because not many people go out to help their community with physical labor anymore, so I was happy to lend a hand and get the work done. I felt that this was a great project to participate in because it’s very important to take care of our environment, and I felt great afterward knowing that I helped in the community.
Going to Audubon was a lot of fun, we were able to plant plants, and pull out some bull grass. It was my first time planting, it was a great experience also very funny. Because while we were making the holes to put the plants in, there was huge rocks. These rocks were so big, that they took up most of the space, because of that when we pulled them out it made the holes bigger. So before we inserted the plants we had to put some sand in, so that way the plant wouldn’t be so deep into the ground. Then when we were pulling out the bull grass, they were a hassle. Overall, i really enjoyed going to Audubon and having to plant for the first time with my friends, while also making new ones. It’s a great way to get out and help nature by planting much needed plants to make sure the monarch butterflies are fed, and the hummingbirds.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to participate in the Audubon service project where me and other SNHS members were able to help dig up and plant new plants in an effort to help the migrating monarch butterfly have a safe place to stay during their journey of migration. It was a great experience to be able to go out there and plant various plants, including milkweed plants. We were also given the task of pulling out large weeds that were harming other nearby plants in the area, which we all worked on as a team to complete, pulling up one weed at a time. Overall, the trip was a great success and was definitely worthwhile, I liked this service project especially because we were able to do something great for the environment and have fun while doing so.
We are back in full swing here at YHS. The YHS chapter of the Science NHS has started up again for our 3rd year of being science enthusiasts. This year we are looking to continue our work with science outreach in our community by assisting at elementary schools as well as communicating with local scientists. Students are also participating in their own science by doing citizen science projects. Posts for these will start back up soon.
Eric, Christian, Marlene, Erick, Kiara, and Jasmin getting ready to collect trash
Already this year we have worked with community partners. On September 17th, members of the YHS chapter of Science NHS traveled down to the Rio Salado Audubon Center in central Phoenix to pick up trash. The Rio Salado is a conservation center in the heart of the city that services as both nature trails and a riparian habitat for many species, including monarch butterflies. This area also has a large seasonal river, where trash often accumulates after the monsoon rains. Every third Saturday, Arizona Audubon hosts a conservation day at the Rio Salado site. The September conservation day was to walk along the now dry river bed and pick up trash.
Students from YHS walked along the dried river bed to pick up plastic bottles, Styrofoam cups, and aluminum cans, among other things, in order to protect that fragile riparian habitat for wildlife and people to enjoy. While difficult work, the students enjoyed the fact that they were helping out our local ecosystems.
Eric and Jacob picking up trash in the Rio Salado