Wetland cleanup yields more than debris
Appeal Staff Writer
What do baby quail, church, vodka bottles, Boy Scouts, coffee and doughnuts, coyotes and makeshift homeless encampments have in common?
All of the above were be spotted in a three-acre wetland parcel owned by Carson City, yet sandwiched in one of the upstart growth areas on the northeast end of town.
Saturday morning at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, volunteers from the city, several scout troops, local Rotary and the church’s parish preceded Tuesday’s Earth Day celebration by doing a little spring cleaning of their own.
“Man there’s a lot of crap out there,” said Pam Graber, volunteer and executive director of Carson-Tahoe Hospital Foundation. “It’s a mess. It’s just a good thing there are (cleanup) days like this.”
With a wheelbarrow overflowing with two stuffed Hefty bags, Juan Guzman, city open space manager, paused from his work to admire the wildlife.
“Boy, does this beat a day in the office. See that coyote over there,” he said as he pointed about one hundred yards in the distance toward the Harley dealership. “Amazing creatures.
“I don’t think people realize everyday the area we live in. It’s so full of life – we share it with all of these (creatures). And it’s up to us to keep it clean – it’s up to us to protect it.”
Rotarians Jim Costa and Brian Olson said they’d found a bevy of abandoned homeless encampments in a grove of trees just 100 feet from the church’s parking lot.
Olson, a Dayton resident, carried tarps and empty bottles toward the dumpster.
“I guess when you get down there and see (what’s left) it’s a little bit eye-opening,” he said. “But that’s the unfortunate case for some.
“All we can do is try to be good citizens and monitor what’s here, clean it up – and help when we can.”
Costa, a Carson resident since 1968, reflected on the many changes the community has seen since he first moved here four decades ago.
“We’ll we’ve grown – that’s for sure,” he said. “I think it’s important for people to see what used to be here. This was all wetland, all wild land.
“These buildings around here, the church, aren’t but five years old. It’s important we try to protect what we have.”
The city is currently in the middle of a renewed effort to do just that, Guzman said.
“We’re up (restoring) Ash Canyon,” he said. “And beyond that, there’s a (parcel) known as the Wilson Trust – which we’re in the middle of transitioning it to (city) land.
“It’s the only access point to the state park. What people may not know is (Carson City) owns more than 1,000 acres of open space, and days like this are critical to keep it clean and safe.”
Parishioner Keith Shonnard and his sons Michael, 14, and Samuel, 3, seemingly found more than just trash during their workday.
“There’s some rusty old artifacts out here,” Keith Shonnard said. “It makes you think about who might’ve been here before us – that this was once a pretty remote area.”
“I’ve found a few things that are interesting,” Michael said. “It’s just you don’t usually think about what’s all around you.”
• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.
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