By Paul Anger
The Eastern Arizona College Discovery Park Campus welcomed members of the AmeriCorps – Arizona Conservation Corps (AZCC) and provided them a campsite while they served in the Safford area with the Gila Watershed Partnership. The five young men and women from all over the country, under the direction of Kiera Kauffman, Habitat Restoration manager for Gila Watershed Partnership, worked on projects throughout Graham County that included conservation and restoration projects along the Gila River and the Bonita Creek – Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area.
The crew worked to “ladder up” mesquite trees in the Nature’s Hide-away areas at Discovery Park. This involved trimming and removing excess growth and vegetation to reduce “fuel” in case of wildfires and create a healthier native vegetation environment for both plants and animals. This also made the areas around the trees more visible and safer for visitors to hike through.
Through their service, the AZCC crew continued the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps that rendered service to communities and parks during the 1930s. Some of the important benefits the crew receives from their volunteer service includes acquiring hands-on training and skills related to natural resource management, gaining outdoor restoration experience, and earning scholarship opportunities to further their educations and opportunities in environmental careers.
For more information on the AZCC projects at the Eastern Arizona College Discovery Park Campus, please call (928) 428-6260 or visit the website at www.eac.edu/discoverypark/.