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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

MOAPA VALLEY NWR: LULAC youth tour the Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Region 1, July 12, 2013
Young people representing LULAC crowd around a stream viewing window at the Moapa Valley NWR for a glimpse of an endangered Moapa dace.
Young people representing LULAC crowd around a stream viewing window at the Moapa Valley NWR for a glimpse of an endangered Moapa dace. - Photo Credit: n/a
LULAC visitors hike up the Loop Trail on the Moapa Valley NWR on their way to the overlook structure above the refuge.
LULAC visitors hike up the Loop Trail on the Moapa Valley NWR on their way to the overlook structure above the refuge. - Photo Credit: n/a
The Service's Tim Parker explains the geologic history of the Warm Springs area to a group of youths representing LULAC during their visit to the Moapa Valley NWR in southern Nevada. The entire refuge and the surrounding area can be seen from the overlook structure shown in the background.
The Service's Tim Parker explains the geologic history of the Warm Springs area to a group of youths representing LULAC during their visit to the Moapa Valley NWR in southern Nevada. The entire refuge and the surrounding area can be seen from the overlook structure shown in the background. - Photo Credit: n/a

By Tim Parker and Dan Balduini

A group of 50 young people representing the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) visited the Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge in mid-June. The trip gave the young visitors an opportunity to explore the 116-acre oasis in southern Nevada, see the endangered Moapa dace for which the refuge was established, and learn about career options with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service).

The morning began with a vigorous hike up the Loop Trail to the overlook, where the stark contrast between the refuge’s vegetation and the surrounding dry Mojave Desert can easily be seen. Ranger Tim Parker explained how the area was once an ancient sea bed, later a wet river valley, and today an isolated set of spring heads in one of the most arid parts of the world. The spring system on the refuge forms the headwaters of the Muddy River, which flows southeastward to Lake Mead. As the region’s hydrology changed, several species of snails, insects, and fish were isolated in the Moapa Valley. A stop at the refuge’s stream profile window afforded the young visitors a view of Moapa dace in their natural habitat.

After the tour, the group met with four Service employees for a discussion about careers. The Service professionals detailed how they became interested in their chosen fields, their education and work backgrounds, and provided suggestions on how they could pursue a career with the Service. The trip was funded by the Service’s Pacific Southwest Region as part of its initiative to encourage minorities to consider a career with the Service.

Along with visiting the refuge, the young people visited other public lands in southern Nevada during the 84th Annual LULAC National Convention & Exposition, which was held in Las Vegas from June 17 through June 22, 2013.

Tim Parker works in Visitor Services and Environmental Education at both Pahranagat and Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuges and Dan Balduini is a Public Affairs Officer for Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

 

Contact Info: Daniel Balduini, 702-515-5480, daniel_balduini@fws.gov