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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

MOAPA VALLEY NWR: An Open House for Local Residents

Region 8, March 24, 2012
Refuge Friends Board Member Bruce Lund explains the live mammal trap to a group of visitors during the open house.
Refuge Friends Board Member Bruce Lund explains the live mammal trap to a group of visitors during the open house. - Photo Credit: n/a
Evan Garret allows his chuckwalla to get some sun while greeting visitors at the open house.
Evan Garret allows his chuckwalla to get some sun while greeting visitors at the open house. - Photo Credit: n/a
The collared lizard sculpture was one of the many new interpretive exhibits featured at the open house.
The collared lizard sculpture was one of the many new interpretive exhibits featured at the open house. - Photo Credit: n/a
Deanna Domingo from the Moapa Band Paiute Reservation discusses the use of beads and jewelry making.
Deanna Domingo from the Moapa Band Paiute Reservation discusses the use of beads and jewelry making. - Photo Credit: n/a

The weather forecast for the day called for winds and an approaching storm. Thankfully, the day turned out to be a beautiful one for refuge staff, partners, and volunteers to welcome local residents of the Moapa, Glendale, and Overton areas that surround the Moapa Valley. The inspiration for a springtime open house was to celebrate the completion of the interpretive waysides and exhibits of the visitor use area of Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

The day kicked off with David Syzdek of the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) leading a morning bird hike in the Warm Springs Natural Area adjacent to the refuge, where wildlife observers had a chance to check on who in the feathered world was passing through southern Nevada. At 10 a.m., the festivities were fully underway with a multitude of activities that partners, volunteers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff facilitated for open house visitors.

 Refuge volunteer Janet Arnold and Alyson Mack, Visitor Services Specialist, served at the central information station and kids activity table, which featured free raffle tickets for all visitors, a scavenger hunt, and a Moapa Dace game for kids. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  Interpretive Media Specialist Wendy Smith inspired the artists in everyone, showing kids and adults how to make leaf rubbings and create remarkable figures of wildlife. Deanna Domingo from the local Moapa Band of Paiute Reservation brought beads and supplies to show how dream catchers and beaded jewelry are made, while SNWA had animal skulls, insects, and other natural history props to illustrate the diversity of life in the local area.

The Friends of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex (Friends) were on hand to provide snacks, refreshments, and let folks know how they could support the refuges in southern Nevada. Just up the hill, the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership displayed the Explore! Mobile Exhibit, where everyone had the chance to come on board and find out about recreation on area federal lands.

While many visitors where engaged with the activity tables and exhibits, the biggest hit of the day was local experts sharing their knowledge and inspiration about the nature and history of the refuge. Visitors were able to join Robert Johnson from SNWA for a peek at the cultural and natural history of the Warm Springs Natural Area. Friends group member Bruce Lund shared his knowledge and enthusiasm for the dragonflies, damselflies and small mammals on the refuge. Visitors were able to see kangaroo rats, deer mice and other animals that were caught in traps set before the open house, and help Bruce catch and identify odanates (dragonflies and damselflies).

Refuge restoration biologist Allison Manwaring guided visitors on a short walk to highlight the efforts and successes the refuge has had in restoring riparian and aquatic habitats to support the endangered Moapa Dace. Wendy Smith toured folks around the stream side aquatic habitat viewing exhibit, interactive displays, and the larger-than-life sculpture of the Mojave collared lizard at the refuge. Bill, Gwen and Evan Garrett rounded out the day bringing their live scaly reptile friends. All the partners contributed to the success of the open house with 97 visitors enjoying a wonderful day on their local national wildlife refuge.

Contact Info: Angelina Yost, 702-515-5453, angelina_yost@fws.gov