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High School Helps Wildlife at Buenos Aires NWR
Southwest Region, March 18, 2010
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City High School students from Tucson learn about aquatic insects at Arivaca Cienega Trail. Photo by Bob Farrell, 03/18/2010.
City High School students from Tucson learn about aquatic insects at Arivaca Cienega Trail. Photo by Bob Farrell, 03/18/2010. - Photo Credit: n/a
Learning about mammals at Arivaca Cienega Trail, 03/18/2010. Photo by Bob Farrell.
Learning about mammals at Arivaca Cienega Trail, 03/18/2010. Photo by Bob Farrell. - Photo Credit: n/a

On March 18, 2010, students from City High School in Tucson visited Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge for a field trip and work project.  They walked Arivaca Cienega Trail, a precious wetland in an arid environment.  Refuge staff and volunteers instructed at four nature stations with respective topics of mammals, birds, insects, and geology.  Breaking into subgroups, the 45 sophomores rotated among the stations along the trail.  Of particular interest were the aquatic insects, especially the bizarre-looking water scorpions and dragonfly nymphs.  Students experienced this riparian ecosystem in the flush of early spring, when cottonwoods are freshly leafed out in delicate green.  Adding to the occasion were the many brilliant-red male vermilion flycatchers.  They had just returned from southern climes and were actively setting up their breeding territories.

City High School requested a work project in order to benefit the refuge.  After a picnic lunch at the cienega, the class broke into four teams with teacher-leaders.  The teams then altered the barbed wire fence along a paved road that bisects the refuge.   Each team tackled a half-mile of fence, removing the top and bottom wires to aid the passage of deer and pronghorns.  These animals can become fatally entangled in barbed wire fence.  Pronghorns evolved in open country and do not instinctively jump obstacles.  Therefore they attempt to go between wires or under the fence.   Removal of the lowest wire helps pronghorns, and removing the top wire helps deer to clear the fence.    Students enthusiastically tackled this project, feeling gratified that their efforts would directly benefit wildlife.


Contact Info: Bonnie Swarbrick, (520) 823-4251 x 108, bonnie_swarbrick@fws.gov



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