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DESERT NWR: Heart Patients Help Habitat and their Hearts
California-Nevada Offices , April 21, 2012
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Patients began their adventure with an informational hike on the plants, animals and history of Corn Creek and the Desert NWR.
Patients began their adventure with an informational hike on the plants, animals and history of Corn Creek and the Desert NWR. - Photo Credit: Angelina Yost/USFWS
Patients from the Children Heart Center restore habitat at Desert NWR.
Patients from the Children Heart Center restore habitat at Desert NWR. - Photo Credit: Angelina Yost/USFWS

By Angelina Yost, Visitor Services

To celebrate Earth Day 2012, patients from the Children’s Heart Center (CHC) in Las Vegas and their families participated in a stewardship project to improve habitat on the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). CHC provides medical care to children with heart diseases.

For the last two years, CHC health care practitioners have been ‘prescribing nature’ so that patients go outside to improve their health and connect with the surrounding natural landscape. As part of the “Let’s Get Healthy” Nature Prescription Program, the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership (SNAP) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) have organized bus trips for patients from the CHC to National Wildlife Refuges in the Las Vegas area. These bus trips have been funded by SNPLMA and a Service Connecting People with Nature grant.

Patients began their adventure with an informational hike on the plants, animals and history of Corn Creek and the Desert NWR. The children and families were excited to learn that the area was part of their public lands and that it was only a short drive from Las Vegas.

The stewardship part of the program really helped the children and families feel connected to our natural areas. Shovels, gloves, seedlings, and buckets of water were already laid out on the area that had been designated for restoration. The families jumped right in and got to work. It was heartwarming to see them all sharing the work, learning something new, and getting some exercise all at the same time. The families were encouraged to come back and visit their plants over time to see how well they were doing.

The expedition ended with a delicious, healthy, and well earned lunch. The meal and bus transportation for this trip was paid through a grant awarded to the Outside Las Vegas Foundation by REI. After lunch, the children were given “Let’s Go Outside” whirligig toys which brought on laughter and active outdoor play for their last memory of the day.


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



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