River Partners' mission is to create wildlife habitat for the benefit of people and the environment.

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Student Trip Enhances Del Rio Wildland Preserve

Students help plant Valley oak saplings at the Del Rio Wildland Preserve. (left to right) Laretta Johnson (6th grade), Madisyn Lambert (3rd grade), parent Claire Johnson, and Josh Jacobs (6th grade). Photo by Julie Pokrandt.

Every fall over the last decade, it has been a tradition for Marigold Elementary School to visit one of River Partners’ restoration sites. This year, more than 60 students and parents from Mr. Rodriguez’ 3rd grade and Ms. Schoenthaler’s 6th grade classes converged on River Partners’ own Del Rio Wildland Preserve.

At Del Rio, students experienced two different phases of habitat restoration: a recent planting site, where they added oak trees, and a four-year old site with 20 foot high trees, shrubs and native grasses. As students scouted the four-year old site, they discovered owl pellets, revealing the presence of voles and other small mammals in the area. Though a sole Turkey Vulture soared above Del Rio, the wind-whipped day put a damper on songbird sightings. However, students did discover a towhee nest, deer scat, native bees and butterflies, and a praying mantis.

While their peers looked for wildlife, pairs of 3rd and 6th graders learned about habitat restoration. As a field exercise, they planted a batch of oak trees on the site. A gift from the Western Section of the Wildlife Society, these oak trees will benefit the restoration of the preserve.

The above article originally appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of the River Partners Journal.