Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pulling Together

Kendall Kroesen

In honor of Martin Luther King Day nearly 50 volunteers gathered at Billy Lane Lauffer Middle School on January 17th. The goal was to remove invasive buffelgrass from Julian Wash, near the school.

Volunteers had some breakfast and heard a great presentation by the Sunnyside-Audubon Student Urban Naturalists, a group that Tucson Audubon is working with through an Arizo
na Department of Education Learn and Serve Grant. These excellent middle school students explained why buffelgrass is bad for the ecosystem and how to remove it.

Volunteers then went out to the wash and, after a moment of silen
ce in memory of the Tucson shooting victims, got final instructions and then dispersed around the wash. Some picked up trash and others dug and pulled buffelgrass out of the ground. While herbicide treatments can be effective on thick infestations at some times of year, the surest way is to dig it out by the roots.

Beautiful sunny winter weather and great camaraderie assured that this was an enjoyable and satisfying event for all. The following week Pima County Flood Control employees hauled off many, many bags of buffelgrass and trash.

Partners in this effort included Sunnyside School District, Tucson Clean and Beautiful, and Pima County Regional Flood Control District. Funding for this event came from the Department of Education grant and from TogetherGreen, a program of National Audubon funded by Toyota.

Please join us February 5th at Robb Wash (on Tucson's east side) for another buffelgrass removal. Saturday, February 5th is the annual Beat Back Buffelgrass Day, on which a large number of volunteer groups and many county and municipal agencies join in many locations in the greater Tucson area to remove buffelgrass. Tucson Audubon will be coordinating with Friends of Robb Wash, Tucson Clean and Beautiful, and Tucson Parks and Rec in this effort.

To join Tucson Audubon for Beat Back Buffelgrass Day, contact Kendall Kroesen at (520) 971-2385 (cell) or kkroesen@tucsonaudubon.org

Directions: We will meet on the 1600 block of North Sarnoff Drive, just south of Pima Street. Park on the west side of Sarnoff along the school bus bay for Bloom Elementary School. From central Tucson, go east on Speedway to Pantano. Turn left (north) on Pantano one-half mile to Pima Street. Turn right (east) on Pima Street. Go about one-quarter mile and then just past Bloom Elementary School, turn right on Sarnoff. Park along the right side of the road.

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