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DESERT NWR: Heart Patients Help Habitats and Their Hearts at Desert National Widlife Refuge
California-Nevada Offices , April 22, 2012
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Patients from Children Heart Center and their families restore habitat.
Patients from Children Heart Center and their families restore habitat. - Photo Credit: (Angelina Yost/USFWS)
Patients began their adventure with an informational hike on the plants, animals and history of Corn Creek and the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.
Patients began their adventure with an informational hike on the plants, animals and history of Corn Creek and the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. - Photo Credit: (Angelina Yost/USFWS)
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.
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. - Photo Credit: (Angelina Yost/USFWS)

By Angelina Yost, Desert NWR Complex

To celebrate Earth Day 2012, patients from the Children’s Heart Center (CHC) in Las Vegas and their families, 40 people altogether, participated in a stewardship project to improve habitat on the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. 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 FWS 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 an internal FWS 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 National Wildlife Refuge. 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: Jon Myatt, 916-414-6474, jon_myatt@fws.gov



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