Kids get hands-on ecology lesson while helping repair fire-ravaged region |

Kids get hands-on ecology lesson while helping repair fire-ravaged region

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal RSN TV Lake Tahoe host Todd Offenbacher, left, talks with Carson High School video production students Gus DeBacco, Thomas Hollenbeck and Terralyn Tiffer. Students from the CHS video production program won first and second place awards for their entries in the Tahoe Adventure Future Filmmakers Award Competition.

Students at Virginia City Middle School got a chance to give back to their state as well as learn last month.

More than 100 students from the school helped to collect sagebrush seeds to use for reseeding burned areas in Nevada.

Camille Stegman, who teaches sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade science at the school, said the group went to an area off of Lousetown Road in the Virginia City Highlands to collect seeds.

“It was for the wildlife,” Stegman said. “It’s not only to reduce erosion, it gives wildlife something to eat.”

She said more than a million acres had burned around Elko this summer, and many animals were facing starvation.

Murphy said the seeds the Virginia City children collected haven’t been counted yet, but he didn’t think there would be a great deal.

“We collected up high, and there weren’t a lot of seeds up that high,” he said.

Regardless of the number, Stegman said the students were psyched.

“The kids really got into it, once they realized what they had to do,” she said. “They had to be very gentle with the sagebrush.”

Stegman said the seeds – about the size of a pinhead – were contained in the sage flowers, so students had to lay seed catchers, canvas material on a rectangular frame, under the bushes, then gently tap each flower to release the seeds and have them drop into the catchers.

Stegman said it was a great way to give the students a little community service with their lessons.

“They wanted to plant, too,” she said. “They did a good job.”

She said the students learn important lessons about seeds and the importance of native plants.

“The kids really liked it, they felt they were doing something important,” she said.


Carson High School students took first and second place in the inaugural Tahoe Adventure Future Filmmakers Award Competition. The advanced video production students submitted 11 films. Students from around Lake Tahoe and Douglas High School also entered.

The contest was to have young filmmakers create their own film, showing an adventure of any kind.

The film that won was made by three CHS juniors and was titled “Me Versus the Wild.” The main producer is Terralyn Tiffer. Thomas Hollenbeck Pringle was the main cinematographer and Gus DeBacco was the only actor. All three helped write and edit the project.

The runner-up was an adventure film was made by CHS seniors Bryan Byrne and Devin Earl. It was a film about outdoor adventures.

For winning, the students were awarded $500 for the school’s video program and various other prizes, including tickets for all 30 students who submitted entries, to attend the Tahoe Adventure Film Festival.