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Discovery Park Campus welcomes BLM and Southwest Conservation Corps

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Discovery Park Campus welcomes BLM and Southwest Conservation Corps

By Lina Kelly

Thatcher, Az—EAC’s Discovery Park Campus welcomed members of the Southwest Conservation Corp-Wildland Fire Training Service Veterans Green Corps to campus last week to help with the clearing of vegetation around the Discovery Park Campus Pond. “We were lucky to have them come in and work on our campus,” said Paul Anger, Discovery Park Campus director. “When they were in the Safford area last week to work with Dave Arthun, range management specialist of the Bureau of Land Management-Safford Field Office, they had planned to do some range work and fence line clearing for BLM in the Gila Box area, but were unable to safely do so due to the weather,” explained Anger.

The BLM-Safford Field Office and Discovery Park Campus are cooperating partners in a wide range of community service projects and public education. “Dave was aware of the invasive and fast spreading tamarisk tree growth on the Discovery Park Campus that needed to be removed, as well as the need to reduce wildland fire concerns on the campus.”

Arthun arranged to have a crew of two supervisors and 12 corps members, with their chainsaws and hand tools, clear a section along the drainage about 10 feet wide and 600 yards long, of mesquite trees and other excessive vegetation growing in the waterway that leads into the Discovery Park Campus Pond.

“The drainage system has been a serious concern. With every rain shower; the run-off from several acres makes its way through the waterway to the DPC pond, but the obstructing vegetation has caused flooding and erosion of the ditch walls.”

The completion of this project will allow Discovery Park Campus maintenance staff to repair the channel and use the rain runoff to maintain the Discovery Park Campus Pond level. The crew also thinned the mesquites along the main road to the Ranch House and along the trail near the Nature’s Hideaway bird blind to increase visitor safety and create a healthier native vegetation environment.

The Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC)–Veterans Green Corps that visited the Discovery Park Campus is based in Tucson and is comprised of current-era veterans training for careers in natural resource and wildland firefighting. The SCC program provides veterans ages 25-35, the opportunity to gain experience in natural resource management like trail maintenance and construction, fuel (trees and brush) reduction and other projects on public lands to help them transition from the military to jobs and opportunities in the civilian sector, specifically in the areas of land management and wild land firefighting.

“These young men were a pleasure to work with. Each exhibited a positive and friendly attitude, and obviously enjoyed the hard work, despite the difficulty,” observed Anger. “Each corps member donned the appropriate safety equipment and used gestures, whistles, and verbal sounds to safely operate in the rocky terrain and thorny thickets of the mesquites. They are outstanding young men, and as veterans it was an honor to have them perform this

community service project on the EAC Discovery Park Campus.”

For more information about EAC’s Discovery Park Campus, contact Anger at 928-428-6260.