by Leora Abelson, Academic Year Program Manager

CCI Greenheart Area Representative Merle Barr organized a Greenheart project for several of her high school Academic Year and FLEX program students. With financial support from CCI Greenheart, they planted native species in a wildlife refuge in their area.

“Five FLEX students and one German student from CCI along with two parents helped plant native plants at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge on April 22,” Merle wrote.

“The students and parents worked hard at planting in very difficult ground.  We were to dig out the exotic grasses in a 3′ circle and then dig an appropriate hole and plant our plants.  We encountered plenty of rocks so the digging was difficult.”

This project was to show the students the value of keeping some areas in their natural state to help protect native plants and animals.

The students learned the history of Turnbull which is located in northeastern Washington State.  It was was established in 1937 to provide productive breeding and nesting grounds for migratory birds and other wildlife.  The group learned that it was purchased with the money generated by the Federal Duck Stamp program.  The Refuge continues to grow and is currently up to 17,000 acres with 8 employees.  For over 25 years, it has been a center of hands-on environmental education for children and adults.