Contributed Photo: A NCCC worker digs one of the many holes needed for the trail project.
By Paul Anger
THATCHER — The EAC Discovery Park Campus recently welcomed members of the National Civilian Conservation Corps (NCCC) through a joint service project grant with the University of Arizona’s Graham County Cooperative Extension, the Gila Watershed Partnership, and Our Neighbor’s Pantry. The crew of young men and women under the direction of Bill Brandau, director of the University of Arizona Graham County Extension Office, did a variety of projects throughout the county that included community outreach lessons, range work, and restoration projects.
While at the EAC Discovery Park Campus, crews worked on three main projects and several small ones, including thinning the mesquites trees along the main road to the Ranch House and along the trail near Nature’s Hideaway bird blind to increase visitor safety and create a healthier native vegetation environment. The largest project was to create a safe walkway through a native desert section so field trip students and visitors can walk from the Ranch House conference facilities to the pond and riparian areas without walking on the main road.
The 300-yard pathway was cleared of vegetation and lined with salvaged power poles donated by the city of Safford. The trail required approximately 100 holes dug to place short poles along the walkway. The trail now adds a touch of western flair and beauty to the facilities and creates a safe transit to and from the Ranch House.
Another project created an outdoor gardening classroom complete with a lesson area, above ground planters, and mulching areas as well as a complete gravity feed watering system from a standing tank. This will be used for the EAC Community Gardening Class and other community projects.
The third project was planting 10 Desert Willow shade trees around the Ranch House and Pioneer School House areas to provide a shaded lesson and recreation area. Along with the trees, the crew installed approximately 500’ of waterline to water the new trees up to maturity and provided a water source for future projects in planting native grasses and bushes.
On top of the three large projects, the crew was constantly working to repair existing irrigation lines, building decorative barriers on the edge of the pond, and working on the future Pollinator Garden Education site.
“These young people were a pleasure to work with,” said Paul Anger, EAC Discovery Park Campus, director. “Each exhibited a positive and friendly attitude, and they obviously enjoyed the hard work, despite the difficulty. Each Corps member added their own touch to each of the projects and made them really special. We were honored to have them perform these important community service projects on the EAC Discovery Park Campus.”
The NCCC crew that visited the Discovery Park Campus is based out of Tucson, with members from all over the U.S., who are fulfilling a 10-month service tour, gaining outdoor and restoration experience, and earning scholarship opportunities to further their educations and opportunities in environmental careers.
For more information on the NCCC projects at the Eastern Arizona College Discovery Park Campus call (928) 428-6260 or visit the website www.eac.edu/discoverypark/.